IN YOUR CORNER: Navigating home insurance claims following ice storm

In Your Corner

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The financial impact of the ice storm is going up by the day. Thousands of folks across our area are finding the old family tree has fallen on their family home.

But when the branches are cleared and the power’s back on, for many the recovery will be only beginning, as families work to fix their roofs.

Alice Young, with Brown-O’Haver Public Adjuster, says in addition to unprecedented ice, we’re dealing with an unprecedented year.

“In general, I would probably say that you’re looking at probably at least a 3-6 month period,” she said. “The thing about insurance claims right now is that they’re taking longer in general. Regardless of the ice, regardless of what we’re currently in, we still have COVID-19.”

If your house has damage, keep the following in mind.

Before you file that claim, take care of the debris to better understand your situation

“The policy calls for one, you allow the insurance company to see the damage, but two that you mitigate the damages,” explained Alice. “You need to take 5,000 pictures, take as many pictures as you possibly can of what your damages are.”

Before you roll up your sleeves and remove the branches from your home yourself, consider hiring the work out

“With debris removal, it’s typically a cost incurred,” said Alice. “Which means you actually have to incur the cost, you actually have to pay for it in order to be paid back.”

Make sure your claim will cover your deductible.

“Because your deductible may be so high, it may not be worth it depending on how much damage there is,” Alice said.

When the suspect tree is actually your neighbor’s, Alice advises you don’t chase after your neighbor’s insurance.

“It’s an act of nature and that’s what your policy covers,” Alice said. “The reason why you want to do that is because you would get better treatment by your own insurance company than you would another person’s insurance company.”

If a tree on your land sustains serious damage, but the tree doesn’t damage your home or property, know that in most instances your insurance will not cover your tree or tree replacement.

The best thing you can do is know your own policy inside and out and try to be patient as the process unfolds.  

For more tips, go to the AAA Public Adjusters website.

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