Posted on May 28, 2014
Last week, some Pennsylvania counties experienced a hail storm which caused massive amounts of damage. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department has taken immediate steps to help consumers after the devastating hail storm. The department will allow out-of-state appraisers to be used to help speed property damage review and appraisals and facilitate quicker claims processing and payments.
The department is also reminding consumers in the affected area to look at their home and auto insurance policies and contact their insurance carrier if they have sustained damage.
“Insurance is in place to provide coverage when the unexpected occurs,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Consedine. “Hail the size of baseballs falling from the sky was certainly out of the ordinary, but its damage to your home would be covered by a typical homeowner’s insurance policy. Coverage for hail damage to your car is part of your auto insurance if you retain your comprehensive coverage.”
According to the Department's website here are some consumer tips for dealing with hail damage:
- Contact your insurance company or agent immediately. Find out when they are coming to appraise your property damage or what arrangements they are making.
- Take pictures of the damage and log your expenses. Do not throw away your damaged property and do not make any permanent repairs. Your claim could be denied if the insurance company or adjuster is unable to see the extent of the damage to your property.
- Be wary of anyone who knocks at your door and offers to do your home repairs. Natural disasters like this can be a magnet for scam artists.
- Know your options when working with a property claims adjuster. You have the option of working with a company-appointed adjuster or you may choose to use a public adjuster to assist you in filing your claim. Be aware that public adjusters will charge a fee for their services.
- Be sure you are working with a reputable, dependable contractor. Home-improvement contractors that do more than $5,000 of business per year in Pennsylvania must register with the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau.
Consumers should also visit www.insurance.pa.gov and click on the “After the Storm” icon. Individuals with questions or complaints can call the department’s toll-free, consumer hotline at 877-881-6388.