Tips on filing insurance claims after severe weather - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tips on filing insurance claims after severe weather

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NORTH GEORGIA (WRCB) -

Some North Georgia residents are cleaning up from the severe storms on Monday. The heavy wind and rain took down trees and covered roads with debris.

In some parts of Dade County, large hail fell and caused damage to property.

If this happened to you, what do you do next?

Hail causes more than $1 billion in property damages every year.

From broken glass to holes in the roof to engine damage, hail can even total your car.

A swath of wind and rain blasted parts of the Channel 3 viewing area. In parts of north Georgia, golf ball sized hail fell. While they may look small, they can cause serious damage to your property.

“For your car, you want to file it as soon as possible," DeHart said. "Mainly because we don't want any rust to occur if it chips the paint.” 

Hank DeHart is a State Farm insurance agent in Chattanooga. The phones haven't rung yet for hail damage, but it won't surprise him if they do after a storm like Monday’s.

"Surprisingly, we've had more car accidents, I would say in terms of claims, than we've had damage to actual homes,” he added.         

So what do you need to do if you received damage?

DeHart said first you need to document everything and contact your insurance agent. Keep in mind, filing a claim might not be in your best interest.

"Double check your deductible," he explained. "Deductibles are there to keep insurance prices low, but if you have a $600 claim, then you don't want to file a claim if you have a $1,000 deductible for example."

Submitting a claim will stay on your record for five years, and you could lose your "claim free discount.” However, if damage is widespread, insurance companies could deem it a catastrophe claim and in that case, it would not count against you.

Above all, agents say be patient.

"It's in the insurance companies' best interest to kind of keep things rolling as well because we never know when the next big storm is going to hit,” DeHart said.

It's also scam season, so make sure you vet anyone making your repairs.

When severe weather strikes, insurance companies often prioritize claims. Cosmetic claims could take longer to process than major property damage.

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