South Dakota's Great "Spring Storm of 2013" - Five Frequently Asked Insurance Questions By Homeowners

With South Dakota's "Spring Storm of 2013" almost behind us, here are five frequently asked insurance questions.

Question # 1 - When should I contact my insurance company about the damage to my house?

Contact your insurance agent or insurance company right away to verify if coverage applies for the damage sustained to your home.  Make sure to explain the damage and the date of occurrence.  If possible, have your insurance policies or numbers available to speed up the report of your claim.  Also, provide your agent or company with the best contact information to reach you later.

Question # 2 - Should I keep a record of my communications with my insurance agent or insurance company?

Yes.  Keep copies of all correspondence with the insurance company, and keep records of your communications with the insurance company. Write down information about your in-person and telephone contacts, including the date, time and name of the person you spoke to and what was said.

Question # 3 - What types of damage will my homeowner’s policy cover?

Damage caused by wind, wind-driven rain, hail, trees or other falling objects, are all covered under most standard homeowners policies.  Many policies cover debris removal if it needs to be removed as a result of a covered peril. Damage from freezing pipes may be covered if efforts have been made to either maintain heat or drain the plumbing system and appliances.

Question # 4 - Should I start making repairs to my home?

Do not make permanent repairs until your insurance company has inspected the property and you and they have reached an agreement as to the extent and cost of the necessary repair.  But do take reasonable steps to prevent further damage to your property (e.g., cover broken windows or other openings, damaged walls).  Be sure to keep the receipt for the temporary repairs you make to your home.

Question # 5 - When can I throw out damaged personal property?

Do not throw out damaged personal property before your insurance company has seen it, particularly larger items such as furniture, or items of significant expense.