Penn. Insurance Department Taking Steps to Assist Consumers After Hail Storm

May 27, 2014

Pennsylvania’s insurance department said last Friday it has taken steps to help consumers after a hail storm caused widespread damage in communities in eastern Pennsylvania.

The department said it will allow out-of-state appraisers to be used to help speed property damage review and appraisals and facilitate quicker claims processing and payments.

The department is also reminding consumers in the affected area to look at their home and auto insurance policies and contact their insurance carrier if they have sustained damage.

“Insurance is in place to provide coverage when the unexpected occurs,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Consedine. “Hail the size of baseballs falling from the sky was certainly out of the ordinary, but its damage to your home would be covered by a typical homeowner’s insurance policy.”

“Coverage for hail damage to your car is part of your auto insurance if you retain your comprehensive coverage,” Commissioner Consedine added.

The department provided the following consumer tips for dealing with hail damage:

• Contact the insurance company or agent immediately. Find out when they are coming to appraise the property damage or what arrangements they are making.

• Take pictures of the damage and log expenses. Do not throw away the damaged property and do not make any permanent repairs. The claim could be denied if the insurance company or adjuster is unable to see the extent of the damage to the insured’s property.

• Be wary of anyone who knocks at the door and offers to do home repairs. Natural disasters like this can be a magnet for scam artists.

• Know the options when working with a property claims adjuster. Consumers have the option of working with a company-appointed adjuster or they may choose to use a public adjuster to assist in filing the claim. Be aware that public adjusters will charge a fee for their services.

• Be sure to work with a reputable, dependable contractor. Home-improvement contractors that do more than $5,000 of business per year in Pennsylvania must register with the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Consumers can also check with the Better Business Bureau.

Consumers with questions or complaints can call the department’s toll-free, consumer hotline at 877-881-6388.

Source: The Pennsylvania Insurance Department

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