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Hundreds of residents across the state are suffering from the aftermath of the recent tornadoes that hit Indiana at the end of March. The Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI) provides tips and resources to assist those who are in the process of filing insurance claims.

Tips for Filing a Claim
Damage caused by tornadoes is covered under standard homeowners and business insurance policies. Policies also include renter’s insurance. The optional comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy offers coverage for damage to a vehicle.

It is important to file a claim with your insurance company right away. Your policy may require that you make the notification within a certain time.

Steps you will need to take include:  

  • Make a list of all your damaged property. You will need this when you meet with your adjuster.  
  • Take photos and videos of damage.  
  • Make only necessary repairs to prevent further damage to your property (cover broken windows, leaking roofs, and damaged walls). Save all receipts for temporary repairs.
  • Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.
  • Let them know your home was damaged in the storms on March 31 and April 1.
  • Contact your insurance company or agent with your policy number, name, address, and phone number.  
  • Keep a record of all conversations with insurance companies, creditors, or relief agencies.

What You Need to Know About Additional Living Expenses
If you cannot stay in your home after a covered disaster, many homeowner policies will pay for additional lodging expenses. For example, if you move into a hotel or apartment while your home is being repaired or rebuilt, the insurance company may pay your temporary housing costs. These are known as additional living expenses (ALE). ALE will only pay the difference between your previous living expenses and your new temporary expenses. If you receive a check from your agent or insurance company for clothing, personal hygiene items, etc., you should expect to see that deducted from any claim for personal property. Ask your insurance agent, company, or adjuster what your policy covers and about any time or dollar limits that apply. You also can find information about the limits and coverages on the Declaration page of your policy that summarizes the insurance coverage provided by the policy.

What to Know About the Difference Between Actual Cash Value and Replacement Cost
Actual Cash Value is the cost to replace your damaged or destroyed personal property with new property of like kind and quality, minus depreciation. It is what you would pay at today’s cost, minus the depreciation. If you have Actual Cash Value coverage, keep in mind that the cost of the insured property will be valued at a lower amount based on wear and tear and the age of the property. You will, however, be reimbursed for the actual cash value of your property at the time of the claim, minus your deductible.

Replacement cost coverage pays the amount it would take to replace or rebuild your home or repair damages with materials of similar kind and quality, without deducting for depreciation. Many insurance companies require homes to be insured for at least 80 percent of their replacement value. With 80 percent coverage, the insurance company will pay losses in full, less any deductible, using up to the limit on your policy.

What the IDOI Can Do to Assist You
The IDOI Consumer Services Department is available to assist you with your insurance inquiry or complaint about health, life, automobile, and property and casualty insurance.

We can assist with the following:

  • If you are unable to locate your insurance company contact information, we can assist in providing you with contact information.
  • If the insurance company has not followed the terms and conditions of your policy, you may submit a consumer complaint form with the IDOI Consumer Services Division.
  • The IDOI can obtain information or explanations on your behalf from the insurance company or their representatives and review the information for compliance with statutes, regulations, and policy contracts.

The IDOI may take corrective action against a company if actions are in violation of a statute, regulation, or policy the IDOI enforces. Visit in.gov/idoi/consumer-services to learn more about the complaint process.

About the Indiana Department of Insurance

The Indiana Department of Insurance protects Indiana's insurance consumers by monitoring and regulating the financial strengths and market conduct activities of insurance companies and agents. The IDOI monitors insurance companies and agents for compliance with state laws to protect consumers and to offer them the best array of insurance products available. The IDOI also assists Hoosiers with insurance questions and provides guidance in understanding how insurance policies work. Visit the IDOI at www.IN.GOV/IDOI.


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