The increased prevalence of natural disasters like Hurricane Ida and the Caldor Fire, and labor and supply shortages related to the coronavirus pandemic, all affect your insurance premiums and claims resolutions. Below, Jean, Cindy, Jenny, and Andrea share their tips.
Jenny’s Tip: As long as COVID is prevalent, plan on even a simple fender bender taking 2-3 months to get resolved, versus 2-3 weeks.
The biggest thing you can have with a claim is patience. And that’s very hard, because you obviously want to get it fixed. I talked to someone today and it was going to take 2 months to get the car repair parts in. The body shops and the dealers just don’t have the parts. There are supply problems from the manufacturers and there are shipping delays.
Cindy’s sister had heavy rain and her sump-pump failed, causing water damage in her finished basement. The deconstruction, which involved a professional team coming in and drying things out, happened like normal. But the availability of materials and the contractor being able to come out for reconstruction has been delayed by a few weeks.
Andrea’s Tip: Get replacement cost coverage – it’s worth paying for.
When everyone needs parts & reconstruction, like after Hurricane Ida, the cost of supplies is going to skyrocket in that area. When you’re covered for replacement cost, you are covered whether the price stays the same or triples.
If there is a natural disaster, where everyone in an area has the same problems, such as a flooded basement from a storm or hail damage to a roof, claims are going to take longer to resolve since all the same companies & contractors are in demand.
The increased cost of materials is driving up premiums for homeowner’s dwelling coverage. What your home would sell for and the home value the county uses to calculate property taxes is not what it costs to rebuild. It’s not market value, it’s reconstruction costs. Now, with prices being inflated, it could be the opposite – that people are paying more for their home than what the replacement cost is.
Cindy’s Tip: Replace your roof every 15-20 years.
Even if a roofing company says your roof is in good shape, carriers often won’t cover roofs older than that.
Jean’s Tip: Everyone should have water back-up coverage, even if you own a ranch-style home with no basement.
This would cover the damage for pipes bursting, faucets overflowing, sewer back-up, or a sump-pump breaking. Without this coverage, Cindy’s sister would have had to pay out of pocket. However, the pipe itself, or busted washing-machine hose, is not typically covered. This is considered neglect of maintenance.
Cindy’s Tip: You may want flood coverage, even if you are not in a flood prone area.
Flowing outside water coming into your home is not covered under water damage but is instead considered flood damage. So, this would be if water leaked in through a window. People who are not in high flood-risk zones often don’t get flood coverage, but about 30 percent of all flood insurance claims are filed in low- to moderate-risk areas.
Jenny’s Tip: When you are in a car crash, the more information the better. Take pictures.
It can be hard to remember to take pictures or get all the information you need if the other party is not keeping their cool and yelling at you. Call for help if you need it – call the police, go into a nearby store. Get the driver’s name, phone number, address, and license number, as well as insurance information and license plate number. It’s usually good to call the police and have it reported just in case there’s legal action down the road.
Andrea’s Tip: Download your carrier’s app.
You’ll have your auto ID cards and homeowner’s or renter’s policy right there, no paper copies to track down. You can send pictures from within the app. You don’t need to be tech savvy, just able to use a smartphone.
Jean’s Tip: When filing a claim, call your agent first.
We’re here to help you figure out if it’s worth it to file a claim based on your deductible, claim history and other factors.