May 18, 2015
Department of Insurance offers guidance to western Missouri residents affected by storms
Tips for filing claims, preventing further damage
Jefferson City, Mo. - Following recent severe weather in western Missouri that resulted in heavy rains, high winds, flooding and multiple tornados, the Missouri Department of Insurance is reminding residents if they have questions or concerns about their insurance coverage to contact the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.
"Residents who sustained property damage from recent storms need to assess the damage and contact their insurance companies as soon as possible," said John M. Huff, director of the department. "If you intend to file an insurance claim, you will want to hold off on making any permanent repairs until your insurance company has the opportunity to inspect the damage. However, you will want to make temporary repairs to prevent any further damage."
The Department of Insurance offers these tips for consumers affected by the storms:
- Contact your insurance agent or your company's toll-free claims number as soon as possible.
- If you have lost the contact information for your insurance company, the department may be able to help you locate it. Contact the department at insurance.mo.gov or by calling 800-726-7390.
- Make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. For example, a hole in the roof should be covered by a tarp or other materials to keep out rain. The same goes for a broken car window. Otherwise, further damage will likely not be covered by your insurance policy. Keep the receipts for materials you buy so you can be reimbursed.
- Don't make permanent repairs until your insurance company has inspected the damage. If you do, your company may not reimburse you.
- Once your claim is processed, get estimates from contractors or auto repair shops known to you or recommended by someone you trust. Be suspicious of strangers who offer to do repairs for you.
- If you believe your insurance company has not handled your claim properly, file a complaint with us. The department will determine whether your insurance company has followed Missouri law in processing your claim.
- Don't 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.
- Don't pay the whole repair bill in advance. Pay in full only when the work is completed according to your agreement.
- Business owners can refer to the department's "Small Business Insurance" Web page, which offers information on commercial property, business interruption insurance and more.