Consumer Tips for Filing Storm Claims
The Connecticut Insurance Department offers the following guidelines for filing storm claims:
Immediately Following the Disaster
Make temporary repairs or arrange for a qualified professional to do so.
Take photos of the damage and remove personal property if your home cannot be secured. Do not dispose of property until an insurance adjuster has reviewed it for your claim. Many policies include reimbursement for storage costs incurred until your home is repaired.
If you can still live in the home, talk with your agent about critical repairs that need to be made. Whether you make the repairs or hire someone, save the receipts for your claim.
If you need to find other lodging, keep records of expenses and all receipts. Homeowners and renter’s insurance generally provide limited coverage for expenses like: meals, rent, utility installation and transportation.
Reporting Your Claim
Most insurance companies have a time requirement for filing a claim. The process will go faster if you can locate a copy of your policy and home inventory.
Call the company or visit a mobile claims center to start your claim. If you need help locating your company or agent, contact the Connecticut Insurance Department at 800-203-3447 or use our online contact options.
You will be asked to list all items destroyed, damaged or missing. If you do not have a home inventory, begin making a list of items going room by room from memory and include as much detail as possible.
If your car is damaged while in your garage/carport, it is covered by your automobile policy—not your homeowners policy. If you are insured by two separate companies for these coverages you must file a claim with both companies.
From Your Company
Your insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to survey the damage at no cost to you. Public adjusters may offer the same services, but you would be responsible for any related fees. Check to be sure they are licensed with the state insurance department.
Do not feel rushed or pushed to agree on a settlement. If there are disagreements, try to resolve them with your insurer. If you cannot reach an agreement, the Connecticut Insurance Department can help you decide if arbitration or mediation is an option.
Your full claim may come in multiple payments. The first will likely be an emergency advance and may include additional living expenses. The payment for your personal property and any additional living expenses will be made out to you. Payments for the structure may be payable to you and your lien holder if there is a mortgage on your home.
Beware of scams! Fraudulent individuals often take advantage of the chaos following a disaster. Check with the state Department of Consumer Protection to make sure contractors are properly licensed and/or registered and get references before hiring a contractor to make repairs. Always insist on a written estimate before repairs begin and do not sign any contracts before the adjuster has examined the damage.
Do not pay a contractor the full amount up front or sign over your insurance settlement payment. A contractor should expect to be paid a percentage when the contract is signed and the remainder when the work is completed.
If the contractor finds hidden damage that was not discovered in the original assessment by the adjuster, contact your insurance company to resolve the difference.
Flood and earthquake damage are not covered in a typical homeowners or renter’s policy. If you have a separate flood or earthquake policy, contact the company that wrote the additional policy to file your claim.
Even after settling your claim, if you think of items that were not in your initial loss list, contact your insurance company. Unless the company has paid the entire limit for the coverage of those types of items, it is possible the company will make an additional payment.
If your damages exceed the amount of your coverage, federal agencies will occasionally provide grants or low-interest loans to assist with recovery following major disasters.
If you have any questions about the coverages in your policy, or if you need help with a problem regarding your claim following a disaster at your home, contact the Connecticut Insurance Department at 800-203-3447 or 860-297-3900 or go to the “Be Prepared” page on our Web site.