State offers consumers post-storm guidance

State offers consumers post-storm guidance
NASHVILLE — As temperatures climb and we inch toward spring, storms — even tornadoes — can result, bringing damage to our homes.
The Department of Commerce and Insurance offers consumers tips for interacting with insurance companies and selecting contractors:
• As soon as possible after an event affects your home, assess damage. Locate a copy of your home insurance policy and read through it. Weigh contacting your insurance carrier or your agent. (Note: Frequently filing claims could affect your coverage.)
• If you decide to contact your insurer, make for your adjustor a thorough inventory of all of the items missing from or damaged in your home.
• Take pictures, if possible, of all damage — inside and outside, from several angles — to get full documentation before any repairs are made.
• Secure and protect your property against further rain or other damage as much as possible without making permanent repairs, so that the adjustor can see and document the full extent of the damage.
• Keep receipts for expenses related to protecting your property from further damage.
• Follow the claims-filing procedure set forth in your policy. If there is a dispute, follow the company’s dispute process.
• Many larger companies have quick-response teams that come into areas of heavy damage to process large numbers of claims as quickly as possible. Others will not send someone out unless you call them. Call your company to be sure which process applies.
• Call TDCI with insurance issues at (800) 342-4029 or its Consumer Affairs division hotline for non-insurance issues at (800) 342-8385.
• TDCI’s Board for Licensing Contractors has found that unscrupulous, unlicensed contractors like to take advantage of home-owners anxious to rebuild after disasters. Be sure to hire only licensed contractors and check them out with the Board. Visit http://t.co/pPmIVAEX for more information. Verify a license status by calling (800) 544-7693, or by checking TDCI’s database for various trades at http://verify.tn.gov.
The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/, @TNCommerceInsur (Twitter), http://on.fb.me/uFQwUZ (Facebook), http://bit.ly/ry1GyX (YouTube) Published in The Messenger 3.5.12

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