Insurance Tips for Consumers Affected by Michigan Tornadoes

March 19, 2012
Media Contact: Jason Moon 517-335-1700
Consumer Hotline: 877-999-6442

LANSING - The Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) today offered tips to Michigan consumers that may be affected by severe weather, including Thursday’s tornadoes that damaged homes and other property in Dexter, Monroe, Lapeer and other areas.

“Consumers are encouraged to first assess the damage, and then keep detailed records as they begin the claims process,” Commissioner Kevin Clinton said. “Our consumer assistance staff is prepared to answer any insurance questions and concerns from consumers in areas affected by Mother Nature.”

Consumers can contact OFIR on their toll-free hotline at 877-999-6442.

Insurance Tips for Michigan Consumers Affected By Severe Weather:

Know Your Policy:
Understand what your policy says. The policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. Know what’s covered, what’s excluded and what the deductibles are.

Assessing the Damage:
When assessing your property following a disaster, remember to photograph and/or video tape any damage.

File Claims As Soon As Possible:
Don’t let the bills or receipts pile up. Call your agent or your company’s claims hotline as soon as possible. Your policy may require that you make the notification within a certain time frame.

Provide Complete, Correct Information:
Be certain to give your insurance company all the information they need. Incorrect or incomplete information will only cause a delay in processing your claim.

Keep Copies of all Correspondence:
Whenever you communicate with your insurance company, be sure to keep copies and records of all correspondence. Write down information about your telephone and in-person contacts, including the date, name and title of the person you spoke with and what was said. Also keep a record of your time and expenses.

Homeowner Claims:
Homeowners policies may require you to make temporary repairs to protect your property from further damage. Your policy should cover the cost of these repairs, so keep all receipts. If possible, take photos or videos of the damage before making repairs.

Don’t make permanent repairs. An insurance company may deny a claim if you make permanent repairs before the damage is inspected. If possible, determine what it will cost to repair your property before you meet with the claims adjuster. When meeting with an adjuster provide them with records of any improvements you made to your property and ask for an itemized explanation of the claim settlement offer.

Claims Settlements:
If there is a disagreement about the claim settlement, ask the company for the specific language in the policy that is in question. Find out if the disagreement is because you and the insurance company interpret your policy differently. If this disagreement results in a claim denial, make sure you obtain a written letter from the company explaining the reason for the denial and the specific policy language in your policy under which the claim is being denied.