WILKES-BARRE — As part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s ongoing consumer protection initiative, Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman on Thursday provided information to home and business owners in Northeastern Pennsylvania to help them file insurance claims for damages from Wednesday’s tornado and to avoid repair scams.
“Experiencing significant home or property damage from a storm is scary and unsettling, but homeowners should try to remain calm and be as diligent as possible in documenting damage when they make a report to their insurer,” Altman said.
The Insurance Department has brochures for homeowners and business owners with important information on how to file claims for storm damage. These brochures include key tips on what information you need to file an insurance claim for storm damage, as well as what questions to ask and what to look for to spot a possible home repair scam.
The brochure includes tips such as:
• Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the storm.
• Save all your receipts.
• Take photographs or video before cleaning up or making repairs.
• After documenting damage, make repairs needed to prevent further damage or to live in the home, but don’t make permanent repairs before your insurance company inspects the damage and approves the repairs.
• If possible, determine what it will cost to repair your property before you meet with an insurance company representative who will assess your property damage. If you and your insurer disagree on the offer made to repair your property, be prepared to negotiate.
• Storms that cause damage to numerous homes and businesses throughout a community can be a magnet for dishonest contractors.
Ask for identification from anyone presenting himself as a public adjuster. Public adjusters are professional claims handlers, licensed and regulated by the Insurance Department, who can assist policyholders with the claims process.
You can verify someone is licensed as a public adjuster by visiting www.insurance.pa.gov, clicking on “Consumers” on the top bar, and selecting “Find Insurance Professional.”
If you suspect anyone or any entity is operating as a public adjuster without a license, report it to the Insurance Department’s Anti-Fraud Compliance Division at 717-705-4199.
For more on Wednesday’s tornado, click here.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.