June 2, 2013
Department of Insurance offers guidance after Friday's severe weather
Assistance with filing claims, and tips for preventing further damage
Jefferson City, Mo. - As Missourians begin cleanup and rebuilding efforts from this weekend's latest round of severe weather, the Missouri Department of Insurance is reminding policyholders 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.
Individuals and business owners who sustained property damage should immediately contact their insurance companies. On Friday night, Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and activated the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions to provide emergency services.
"Midwestern states, including Missouri, have had their share of spring storms," said John M. Huff, director of the Department of Insurance. "The department will continue to work with property and business owners to make sure their insurance claims are settled in a timely manner."
The Department of Insurance offers this guidance 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 Missouri Department of Insurance 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 rain out. 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 insurance 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 Topics Web page, which offers information on commercial property, business interruption insurance and more.
About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration
The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department's seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.