By Aditi Mukherji
Schedule permanent repairs. Though you should hold off on permanent repairs until your damage is assessed, schedule them as soon as possible, as appointments can fill up quickly.
Beware of storm-repair scams. Don’t rely on your insurance company to protect you from tornado-repair scams. Use local, licensed, bonded and insured contractors. Check references, get agreements in writing, and don’t pay in advance.
Don’t expect free upgrades. Typically, insurance companies will only replace damaged items and materials of the same type and quality. Trying to replace fiberglass with expensive slate tile for free will only slow down your claims process.
Be physically present. Try to be present when the insurance company’s adjuster inspects the damage to your property.
Ask about discounts. Find out from your insurance agent if you are eligible for discounts, additional living expenses (ALE), disaster tax deductions, or other forms of financial assistance because of the tornado.
Speak with a claims professional. Never let a contractor interpret your insurance policy language. For extra guidance, consult a local insurance attorney who can explain those terms to you in plain English.
If your home is not insured, you may want to contact your local Red Cross or FEMA Disaster Recovery Center for assistance. Also, look into disaster loans.
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