Review policy, contact your insurer and check contractors before hiring
As temperatures climb and we inch toward spring, storms – even tornadoes – can result, bringing damage to our homes. The Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) would like to offer consumers some tips for interacting with insurance companies and selecting contractors:
- As soon as possible after an event affects your home, contact your insurance carrier or your agent. Locate a copy of your policy and read through it.
- Make a thorough inventory for your adjustor of all of the items missing from or damaged in your home.
- Take pictures, if possible, of all damage – inside and outside, from several angles – to get full documentation before any repairs are made.
- Secure and protect your property against further rain or other damage as much as possible without making permanent repairs, so that the adjustor can see and document the full extent of the damage,
- Keep receipts for expenses of protecting your property from further damage.
- Follow the claims-filing procedure set forth in your policy. If there is a dispute, follow the company’s dispute process.
- Many larger companies have quick-response teams that come into areas of heavy damage to process large numbers of claims as quickly as possible. Others will not send someone out unless you call them. Call your company to be sure.
- Call TDCI with insurance issues at 800-342-4029 or its Consumer Affairs division hotline for non-insurance issues at 800-342-8385.
- Tennessee’s Board for Licensing Contractors has found that unscrupulous, unlicensed contractors like to take advantage of homeowners anxious to rebuild after disasters. Be sure to hire only licensed contractors and check them out with the Board. Consumers may verify a license status by calling 800-544-7693, or may check TDCI’s website for various trades at http://verify.tn.gov.
The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/