OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – If you are still cleaning up from last week’s storms, the Oklahoma Insurance Department has a few tips to make sure your claims are handled promptly and fairly.
“Filing an insurance claim can be an intimidating process,” Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready said. “But we are here for those who suffered from Wednesday’s storms. We want to make sure they get the assistance they need to recover as quickly as possible.”
The OID’s Consumer Assistance division is ready to help anyone who received damage from last week’s storms. Here are some tips for storm victims:
- Have your roof inspected by a trusted roofing contractor. If the damages are below your deductible, you would need to pay for the repairs; If they are much larger than your deductible, turn the claim in to your insurance carrier.
- Contact your insurance company or agent as soon as possible. Ask what forms, documents and information you will need to provide in order to process your claim. Keep in mind that replacement cost policies require the work to be completed within six months of the date of loss in order to receive the replacement cost payments that were withheld.
- Access and document Damage. Take photos or video of the damage. Unless your insurance company tells you to, don’t throw anything away.
- Make the necessary repairs to prevent further damage. Cover broken windows, holes, leaking roofs and damaged walls. Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement with them on the cost of appropriate repairs. Move undamaged items to a safe location when necessary to avoid theft or additional loss.
- Save all receipts. If you made repairs to your property, save all receipts including those from the temporary repairs that might be covered by your insurance policy.
- Ask about additional living expenses. If your home is damaged to the extent that it is unlivable, ask your insurance provider if you have coverage for living expenses incurred while repairs are being made.
Remember these tips when you’re dealing with contractors to avoid fraud:
- Always get more than one bid.
- Check references and phone numbers. Contractor complaint information is collected by the Better Business Bureau. You can call the Construction Industries Board to make sure the contractor has a valid license to do business in the state and that they carry liability insurance.
- Don’t pay upfront and don’t make your final payment until the job is finished.
- Avoid contractors who offer to waive your deductible or promise a rebate.
- Never sign a contract with blank spaces and always keep a copy for your records.
If you have questions about other insurance issues, please contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website at www.oid.ok.gov.