Natural Catastrophes: Protect Yourself Before and After a Disaster Strikes
Ensure proper coverage before a major event; know who you are dealing with after a storm hits.
Wildfires. Earthquakes. Hailstorms.
Mother Nature can be unpredictable. When it comes to natural disasters, ensuring proper coverage beforehand, and knowing whom to deal with to handle repairs in the aftermath can help protect your property and your finances from predatory and unscrupulous contractors looking to make a quick buck.
"Unexpected events such as the hailstorms in southeastern Idaho this past spring serve as reminders of the value of catastrophe insurance. When making storm repairs, be diligent and always be sure to do business with a local, licensed contractor.
Hail can quickly wreck havoc on your home and car. For autos, comprehensive coverage will safeguard your vehicle; however, a basic liability policy will not. When it comes to your home, hail damage is covered by a standard homeowner's policy, but coverage can be affected by factors such as where you live and the type of policy you have purchased.
Amy Lambrecht, a supervisor with the Department's Consumer Affairs division, says hundreds of claims have been filed as a result of the hailstorms in southeastern Idaho. She recommends the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of insurance fraud:
- Be wary of door-to-door solicitors
- Make sure contractors are licensed
- Read all documents before signing anything
- Keep copies of all documents signed
- Be leery of contractors trying to provide "advice" about insurance coverage
Insurance industry statistics estimate hail damage to exceed $1 billion annually in the U.S., mostly to roofs and cars. Understand the risks of where you reside and the types of catastrophe coverage available.