May 12, 2014
Chief Regulator: Missourians with storm damage should contact their insurance agent or company now
Offers tips for filing claims, preventing further damage
Jefferson City, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Insurance reminds Missourians with property damage as a result of weekend storms to contact their insurance agent or company as soon as possible. On Saturday, the storms produced an EF-2 tornado in the town of Orrick, in Ray County, the hardest hit area, that resulted in damage to more than 200 homes, including more than two dozen that sustained major damage or were destroyed. The storms also produced an EF-1 tornado near Marshall, in Saline County. Golf ball-size hail, heavy rain and strong winds also affected Saline, Boone, Callaway and Ray counties. Some properties sustained damage from falling trees and high winds.
Policyholders who have questions or concerns about their insurance coverage should contact the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.
"Missourians impacted by these storms should contact their agent or insurance company now to start the claims process," said John M. Huff, director of the department. "Additionally, consumers should make temporary repairs to prevent 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 the department. 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.