The North Carolina Department of Insurance gives advice on how to avoid potential fraud and to handle insurance after a storm strikes.
- Be on the lookout for insurance scams. State inspectors warn that scammers often operate in this manner:
After a storm, roofing companies learn from news reports which areas may have storm, hail or wind damage. They go to those neighborhoods and travel door-to-door telling homeowners their roof is damaged and needs repairing or in some cases to be replaced. According to investigators, often there is no roof damage and sometimes the damage is even intentionally caused. This can be prosecuted as insurance fraud. At a minimum, unsuspecting homeowners end up paying a deductible for a new roof they did not need.
- To report suspected fraud, contact the state Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840.
- If you suffer property loss in your home or vehicle, contact your agent or insurance company as soon as possible to arrange a visit from an adjuster. The Department of Insurance will be in close contact with top insurance companies doing business in the state. The department will have up-to-date consumer hotline numbers available for those who need to contact their companies.
- Before doing any repairs to your house, photograph and make a list of the damage.
- Who pays the bill for damaged caused by falling trees can be complicated. Learn some basic facts how to handle tree removal from your property.
- Protect your home from further damage by making temporary repairs only, until your insurance company can advise you further. Save any receipts for materials purchased for 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.
- If necessary, rent temporary shelter. If your home is uninhabitable due to physical damage (not lack of power or water), most homeowners policies pay additional living expenses while your property is being repaired. Before renting temporary shelter, check with your insurance company or agent to determine what expenses will be reimbursed.
- Always remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Deal only with licensed agents and companies.
- For answers to additional questions, contact the Department of Insurance at 800-546-5664 or ncdoi.com