The tornado that blew through Bucks County Saturday evening brought down trees and did serious damage to properties along its path in Wrightstown and Newtown, but the rain, gusty winds and hail that struck throughout the region also caused significant damage to other neighborhoods as well.
Get roof inspected for damage
On Monday, roofers and insurance adjusters were out inspecting residences damaged in the storm which hit the entire Delaware Valley.
“We got a lot of calls yesterday, a lot of business due to the storm,” said Cole Selleck, office manager for C & C Family Roofing, based in Willow Grove. Some owners were fearful to get on their roof themselves, so Selleck said the company is doing free inspections.
A home or business owner who knows or suspects the storm did damage should get a contractor and/or public adjuster to inspect the property as soon as possible to determine the cost to make repairs.
Public adjusters advocate for their clients
A public adjuster is someone who represents an insured resident or business owner when they need to file an insurance claim.
“We are advocates for our clients. When it comes to an insurance claim, you should have someone to represent your interest” in dealing with the insurance company, said Harry Kantor of Citywide Public Adjusting at the Neshaminy Interplex in Feasterville. He has been a public adjuster for 39 years.
The insured resident or business owner should contact their insurer to let them know they may have a claim. The insurance company will then send their adjuster to the property to inspect the damage and give a settlement offer if the damage is covered by the policy.
More:A tornado passed through the Newtown Township area Saturday. Here are the details
Most homeowners’ insurance policies, except for the most basic, will cover wind, hail and ice or snow damage, Kantor said, in addition to fire and smoke damage. That’s where having a public adjuster is a good idea, Kantor said.
“Any good adjuster who knows what they’re doing and doesn’t overcharge is worth their weight in gold,” Kantor said, as they will negotiate with the insurance company adjuster.
For example, if some shingles have fallen off a roof or a few pieces of siding off the house, the insurance company adjuster may want to pay to replace just those, but if they don’t match the rest of the roofing or siding, the home may lose value, Kantor said. An adjuster may be able to have the property restored to its pre-storm condition.
Don’t delay inspections after wind storm, tornado
Vince Perri of Elite Resolutions has made YouTube videos of what people should do when their home or business has been damaged. He said it’s very important to get your roof or property inspected quickly as those who wait six months or more to call an insurance company are “starting way behind the 8 ball” on getting that claim settled. He offered this advice:
- Contact your insurance company to let it know you may have a claim.
- Take photos of the damage.
- Keep the damaged items, like roof shingles that may have blown off your roof to show the adjusters.
- Get your own documented estimate for the cost of repairs.
- Once you have photos and retained the damaged items, then go ahead and make repairs if you can so not to cause further damage. If your roof leaks, tarp it to prevent rain from causing mold in your home.
- If the insurance company requests information, provide it without delay so as not to delay a claim settlement.
- Follow up about every seven days to see where your claim is in the settlement process. Don’t call every day as this is annoying to the insurance workers who have multiple claims to handle, Perri said.
- Negotiate a settlement.
Don’t be fearful of insurance rate increases. Kantor said that a rate shouldn’t go up for one claim but if a person files more than one in a short time period, the insurance company may raise their rate, or may do it by zip code if they receive multiple claims from that area.
But he said that a good settlement for a major claim would far outweigh any rate increase.
Clinton Mora is a reporter for Trending Insurance News. He has previously worked for the Forbes. As a contributor to Trending Insurance News, Clinton covers emerging a wide range of property and casualty insurance related stories.