July 2021 UPdate: After receiving reports from multiple sources of unfair conduct by insurance companies on Derecho claims, the Iowa Insurance Division issued a bulletin asking insurers to voluntarily extend policy deadlines so storm victims can collect the full amount of benefits they’re entitled to without having to file lawsuits.
If your home or business was damaged or destroyed in the Iowa Derecho, United Policyholders’ Roadmap to Recovery® program and guidance on insurance, clean up and professional claim, construction and legal services will help you on your road to recovery and make good decisions or repairing or rebuilding or replacing your home. The Iowa derecho, with its winds of 110-140 mph, was considered the equivalent of a Category 3 or 4 hurricane by the National Weather Service. Wind damage should be covered under your homeowner’s policy.
In the months ahead, you will have to deal with lots of paperwork and make important financial decisions. The word most commonly used to describe people’s mind set after a natural disaster is “overwhelmed.” While insurance payments can’t bring back your cherished momentos, they are critically important to a successful recovery.
At this time, take care of your family’s immediate needs first. UP recommends focusing on photographing and documenting damaged and destroyed property, getting a complete current copy of your insurance policy, and finding temporary lodging that is comfortable and safe. If you are unable to return to your home, you may be able to access insurance funds through your “Additional Living Expense” Coverage.
Understanding some basics about the insurance claim process from the start will help you navigate:
- Insurance is a vehicle to get you back where you were before your losses, but it won’t drive itself. You have to drive it or get help if you can’t.
- UP offers tips, information, sample letters and tools to help each person recover the full amount they’re entitled to and avoid and solve problems if they come up. We have your back when insurance matters.UP is a charity…a non-profit with expertise on insurance and helping consumers. We do not sell insurance, give legal advice or represent individuals in claim matters. United Policyholders has almost 30 years of experience in communities hit by catastrophic losses from disaster. We’re rooting for you and here to help. No strings attached.
You paid for an insurance safety net and we are here to help you get what you paid for.
- Take photos of the damage before any clean-up or repairs are done and completely document and value all damages and costs to repair or replace your property.
- Keep a diary of conversations with insurance, repair, government, and other professionals.
- Check your home policies for special deductibles or coverages related to Hurricane or Wind damage.
- Start working on a detailed and itemized “proof of loss” form but don’t rush and leave things out.
- Give your home insurer a chance to do the right thing, but advocate for yourself and be prepared to get help if you’re not being treated fairly. Sources of help include professional claim advocates and attorneys, FEMA, and your state’s Department of Insurance. Please visit our State-by-State library for additional resources.
- If an insurance adjuster says damage isn’t covered, but you feel it should be, get an independent professional opinion before giving up on getting some or all of your claim paid.
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- Taking it in and Getting Started
- Arranging Temporary Housing
- Getting Organized, Informed and Empowered
Getting Debris Removed
Being Pro-active in Documenting and Valuing Your Losses
- Insurance Recovery Tips for the Dwelling Part of Your Claim
- Reimbursement for Claim Preparation Expenses
- The Scoop on “Scope” (of loss)
- Guidelines For Reviewing Adjusters’ And Contractors’ Estimates
- Xactimate Demystified
- Survivors Speak: Estimating Your Loss
- Sample Letters and Documents
- Mobile / Manufactured Home Insurance Claim Tips
- Creating Your Home Inventory and Navigating Your Contents Claim
- Making Housing and Financial Decisions
- Choosing a Contractor
Working with Your Mortgage Company
- Getting help if/when you need it
Taking Care of Yourself Along the Way