Insurance companies busy with storm damage claims in East Texas

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Insurance companies in East Texas are currently struggling with claims after another round of severe storms destroyed Tyler. East Texans always clean up debris left by straight-line winds.

However, before you start making repairs, understanding your home insurance can help ensure you receive the money you need to rebuild your home.

“Choose an insurance agent you trust, because they will be your assistant and your best friend in the event of a claim,” says Brenda Thomas, senior vice president of insurance agency Hibbs Hallmark.

Each homeowner’s insurance policy can be very different depending on the coverage purchased. Fortunately, a tornado is considered a covered loss in the state of Texas. Experts say the number one rule is don’t clean up or make any repairs until you’ve contacted your insurance agency.

“So let’s say you have a hole in your roof. Obviously, you need to make repairs to it to prevent future rains or weather from making it worse. But that’s the only thing they’ll let you do. So nothing more than that, you have to wait for the adjuster,” says Thomas.

Keeping damaged property intact can help the adjuster make a final decision on your loss coverage. Taking photos of your home can also help you and your business stay on the same page.

“Another thing is to be patient with the insurance companies right now. They’ll probably work with the people who have the most severe damage first. So be patient with how they do it,” says BBB East Central Texas President and CEO Mechele Mills.

The East Texas BBB also warns against scam artists selling storm damage insurance.

“They’re going through an area after a storm has hit. Some of them are not legitimate companies. They are there to take your money and run away. If they don’t have a legit brand or branded material for you, then that’s a red flag,” Mills said.

Be sure to research companies before they come to work for you and call your insurance company immediately.

“Your policy will be very clear. We cover that, and then it will be made clear, we don’t cover those things. Again, it’s important that you review your insurance policy,” Thomas said.

Wind and hail damage are covered by a standard home insurance policy. However, it is also common for some companies to require the purchase of a windstorm add-on.

Kristan F. Talley