Storm cleanup: Navigating insurance claims

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After a day digesting all the damage caused by a strong storm that ripped through Grand Rapids and Ada Township Wednesday evening, the next step of the process may be filing an insurance claim. 

Farmers Insurance agent Adam Porczynski says the first thing you should do is get an estimate of the damage from your insurance agent.

“It’s not worth filing the claim if it doesn’t go above the threshold of your deductible,” he explained. “A lot of companies will surcharge you on the back end on your homeowner’s insurance.”

You don’t want a file a claim to find nothing will be paid out and that your premium is going to go up. Porczynski says it’s a pretty common practice in the industry, making it important you assess if it’s worth filing.

According to Insure.com, there are several things you need to consider:

Federal assistance only pays for temporary living expenses. It won’t do something like pay to replace your house.

One storm can often be categorized as multiple events, meaning you may have to pay several deductibles.

Catastrophic claims take a long time because insurance adjusters are overwhelmed with all the damage.

If volunteers help clean up your property, removing debris before an adjuster can look at it could hurt your claim.

That means you need to make sure you document everything.

Insurance experts say an increasing number of severe weather incidents is forcing companies to pay out more and raise rates. 

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