June 29, 2015
Missouri Department of Insurance is in Lincoln County this week to assist residents and businesses with insurance needs
Residents affected by storms are encouraged to contact their insurance company now
Jefferson City, Mo. - A consumer specialist from the Missouri Department of Insurance is in Winfield this week to assist residents impacted by the recent flooding and storms. The specialist will be at the Winfield Primary School located at 105 Eighth St. until 7 p.m. today (Monday) and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
The specialist can help consumers better understand their insurance policies and the process of filing a claim as well as provide insurance company contact information.
Residents affected by the storm who have not already contacted their insurance agent or company should do so immediately.
Policyholders who have questions or concerns about their insurance coverage also can contact the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.
"We stand ready to assist the residents of Lincoln County and surrounding areas if they have insurance questions or are experiencing issues filing claims with their insurance companies," said John M. Huff, director of the department. "We will be on-site to address these issues and any questions they may have."
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, the department may be able to help you locate it. Visit insurance.mo.gov or call 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. The department recently released a video podcast that discusses flooding and what a typical homeowners insurance policy does not cover. The video is posted on the department's website.