Our St. Louis region is known for having amazing storms. Whether it be thunder storms with 4th of July type lightning, storms with golf ball size hail or just your “regular” old tornado, we never know when our “fun” will begin, or end. We’ve shared many articles in our newsletters over the years about protecting yourself before and during these storms but would like to focus this piece on what to do after the storm if there is damage to your home or property.
First and foremost, make sure that everything is safe and secure. If there are exposed wires or power lines down, don’t try to fix it yourself! Either call the appropriate utility or city department that has the equipment and know how to fix a major problem. If the damage makes your home unsafe to stay in it, all of our Companies have an emergency 800# that you can call for assistance and these can be found on our website, www.hsgwinsurance.com. Any temporary repairs must be done, in order to prevent further damage even before reporting it to the Insurance Company.
Normally, there is not the severity of damage that causes you to move out of the house. Any damage is disconcerting and we recommend contacting our office to discuss what process we recommend for repairs. If you contact your local contractor first and they advise the amount of damage warrants submitting a claim to the Insurance Company, we need this done before any permanent repairs are made. The Insurance Company has to see the damage before it is fixed for coverage to apply.
Storms also bring out a number of “fly-by-night” contractors from all over the Midwest. You always have the final decision on which contractor fixes your damage, but we strongly recommend you deal with local contractors that have experience and longevity. Do not let contractors inspect your property if you’re not watching. Some unscrupulous companies will cause damage to drive up the repair cost, and your insurance company will likely not cover the additional cost. Ask for a Certificate of Insurance, which verifies that the contractor has insurance, before any work is begun. Do not pay the whole repair bill in advance. Pay in full only when the work is completed according to your agreement.
We have several trusted contractors we have worked with over the years who do a good job, and the Insurance Company usually has a list of “approved” contractors as well. So, don’t just pick someone who was “just in the neighborhood” without vetting them thoroughly.
As always, we at HSGW Insurance are here to aid in any way that we can. Not only during Storm Season but if you have any questions at any time.