March 28, 2014
Department of Insurance offers guidance for Missouri consumers affected by storms
Tips for filing claims, preventing further damage
Jefferson City, Mo. - In light of Thursday's severe weather that produced hail, strong winds and tornadic activity, the Missouri Department of Insurance is reminding Missourians 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.
"This round of severe weather is an early reminder that the storm season is here," said John M. Huff, director of the department. "For consumers with property damage, the time to act is now. Consumers should move quickly to protect their property and file claims with their insurance companies."
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.