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Recent TN Storms Open Floodgates for Insurance Claims

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Photo: The state advises consumers to file any storm damage claims quickly with their insurer, and to beware of scammers. Photo courtesy: wallyir/morguefile.com
Photo: The state advises consumers to file any storm damage claims quickly with their insurer, and to beware of scammers. Photo courtesy: wallyir/morguefile.com
 By Stephanie CarsonContact
July 20, 2015

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – It's been a stormy summer in recent weeks in parts of Tennessee, with storms causing thousands of dollars in property damage.

With many consumers expected to file claims with their insurers to cover the damage, the state wants to make sure people understand the best way to do that and how to protect themselves from scammers trying to make a quick buck.

Kevin Walters, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI), says the first thing to remember is to act quickly.

"The most important thing that consumers can do is file their claim as soon as possible,” he advises. “Call your insurance company or your agent with your policy number and relevant information.”

Walters also recommends taking pictures and video to document the damage.

Also, ask your insurer for a complete list of documentation needed and an explanation of how to go about the process.

It's also important to save all receipts, including those for temporary repairs.

Walters says every time there is an increase in property damage because of storms, there are a bevy of unscrupulous businesses ready to take advantage of the situation.

"People should be wary of contractors who demand up-front payment before the work is initiated, or payment in full before the work is completed,” he stresses. “If a contractor needs payment to buy the supplies, you should go with the contractor and pay the supplier directly."

The state recommends asking for at least three references and getting more than one bid for repairs.

You can also use the TDCI's website to verify a contractor's license.

Best Practices