The following is a press release from Senator Carlo Leone's Office:
In the aftermath of Storm Sandy, state Senator Carlo Leone (D-Stamford) today reiterated advice from the state Insurance Department regarding steps residents should take to make timely and accurate storm-damage claims.
“In the midst of all the damage and upheaval many people are experiencing as a result of this awful storm, it is important to document your damage and to seek as much insured compensation for your losses as possible,” Sen. Leone said. “The State of Connecticut has some very helpful and meaningful advice for those homeowners and businesses who may never have experienced losses of this magnitude before.”
Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas Leonardi said consumers should follow a number of important steps when filing damage claims from Storm Sandy.
“Contact your agent or company as soon as possible and document your damage with photos or video,” Commissioner Leonardi said. “Keep a dairy of all conversations, e-mails and other correspondence you have with your company. Get the name of the representative you spoke to, note the date and time and what was communicated to you. Should any problems arise between you and your carrier, contact the Insurance Department. We are here to help you work through the process and will ensure that carriers comply with all state insurance laws.”
The state Insurance Department offers the following tips when filing claims:
- Contact your insurer as soon as possible
- Take photos of the damage
- DO NOT make permanent repairs until your insurer has inspected the property
- Keep a diary of all contact, conversations with your insurer
- If you can still live in the home, talk with your agent about critical repairs that need to be made. Whether you make the repairs or hire someone, save the receipts for your claim.
- If you need to find other lodging, keep records of expenses and all receipts. Homeowners and renter’s insurance generally provide limited coverage for expenses like: meals, rent, utility installation and transportation.
- Your carrier will send an insurance adjuster to survey the damage at no cost to you. Public adjusters may offer the same services, but you would be responsible for any related fees. Check to be sure they are licensed with the Insurance Department.
- Do not feel rushed or pushed to agree on a settlement. If there are disagreements, try to resolve them with your insurer. If you cannot reach an agreement, the Connecticut Insurance Department can help you decide if arbitration or mediation is an option.
- Your full claim may come in multiple payments. The first will likely be an emergency advance and may include additional living expenses. The payment for your personal property and any additional living expenses will be made out to you. Payments for the structure may be payable to you and your lien holder if there is a mortgage on your home.
- Even after settling your claim, if you think of items that were not in your initial loss list, contact your insurance company. Unless the company has paid the entire limit for the coverage of those types of items, it is possible the company will make an additional payment.
- If your damages exceed the amount of your coverage, federal agencies will occasionally provide grants or low-interest loans to assist with recovery following major disasters.
The state Insurance Department has provided a special “Storm Sandy” page with helpful claims guidelines, a list of toll-free claims phone numbers for insurance companies and other information for both consumer and the industry.
For more information go to www.ct.gov and click on the “Sandy” link on the right side.