Tuesday, August 30, 2011
With Hurricane Irene causing significant damage across the region, Senator
Roy McDonald is providing important tips to individuals who need to file
“Irene has had a devastating impact throughout the region, and
many families and businesses are going to have to file insurance claims.
By following a few simple steps, residents will be better equipped to
protect themselves and ensure that the claims process go as smoothly as
possible,” said Senator McDonald.
The following steps should be followed when filing an insurance claim,
according to the New York State Insurance Department:
• Contact your insurance company as quickly as possible to
file your claim. Be sure to have your policy number and other relevant
information available when speaking to them.
• Take photos or video of any damage before you clean-up or
make repairs. After documenting the damage, make whatever temporary repairs
are needed to prevent further damage (such as covering up broken
windows, or leaking roofs and walls).
• Do NOT make any permanent repairs before your insurance
company inspects the damage and you have reached an agreement on the cost
of the repairs.
• If the damage to your home is so severe that you cannot
live there, ask your insurance company if you have coverage for additional
• Keep a record of all conversations you have with your
insurance companies, including the dates and times of your conversations,
the name of the person with whom you spoke, and the details of your
• Be prepared to negotiate if your insurance company’s first
offer does not meet your expectations. If you disagree with your insurer’s
decision about a claim, ask them for the specific language in the
policy that their interpretation is based on.
Residents who believe their insurance companies are treating them
unfairly can file a complaint about their insurance company by visiting the
New York State Insurance Department’s website,
www.ins.state.ny.us/complhow.htm. Complaints can also be filed by writing
to Consumer Services Bureau, New York State Insurance Department, 25 Beaver
Street, New York, New York 10004. Be sure to include your name, address,
telephone number, your insurance carriers name, your policy or claim
number, and an explanation of your concerns; do not send original copies of
any supporting documentation.
Residents should contact their insurance companies first if they
have specific questions about their policies. Residents who need additional
assistance with Hurricane Irene damage can contact the New York State
Insurance Department’s disaster hotline at 1-800-339-1759.