Insurers Battle Damage Costs from Storms that Killed 45 People

A number of insurance companies are struggling to keep up with claims responding to damage produced by severe storms and tornadoes that struck much of the U.S. in the past week. Several major insurers have racked up more than 12,000 claims and are expected to see more in the coming days and weeks.

State Farm and Nationwide Deal with High Number of Claims

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the largest provider of home and auto insurance, is dealing with claims that have been accumulating for both types of coverage in the wake of massive storms that ravaged much of the U.S. from Oklahoma to the East Coast and claimed the lives of 45 people.

State Farm estimates it has received 7,500 home insurance claims so far. Much of the structural damage, in North Carolina and Virginia in particular, has resulted in many homes most likely being declare uninhabitable. State Farm has also received 2,900 auto insurance claims and expects to see more in the near future.

Nationwide Mutual has also counted a large tally of claims. So far, it has received 2,000 for home and auto in North Carolina alone.

Do You Have to File a Claim?

If you live in one of the affected areas, you may want to file a claim but don’t know what to do. The specific guidelines are slightly different for filing a home insurance claim versus filing an auto insurance claim, but to get you started, here are a few basic tips:

  • Find your policy: In both cases, you want to find your insurance policy to take a quick look at what it covers so you’re not making claims on items the insurer won’t pay for. If you can’t find yours, contact your insurance company to obtain a copy.
  • Survey your damage: Next, you want to look over the damage to your home or car, make a list of what’s been lost (in your home) and take pictures of the destruction. It’s also good to find pictures or video footage of your home and car prior to the damage to give the insurance company a way to compare.
  • Don’t procrastinate: One mistake some people make is waiting too long to make a claim. While it won’t make or break the process necessarily, it could be harder for the company to do an effective job at settling the claim if aspects of the damage are no longer the same due to changes you’ve made or even environmental changes.

The insurance companies have much to deal with in the coming weeks and months, so do all you can on your end to make the process flow as smoothly as possible.