August 7, 2009                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton

Lindeen Offers Tips for Hail Insurance Claims in Wake of Hail, Severe Thunderstorms In the wake of recent thunderstorms that pounded Butte-Silver Bow Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen offered advice for consumers who suffered losses or damage due to the storm. Yesterday’s hail storms brought strong wind and hail up to two inches in diameter in some places.


      “Montanans who sustained damage from the recent hail storms should contact their agent as soon as they can accurately assess the damage,” said Lindeen.
      “If you do suffer loss or damage due to a storm, here are some recommendations on how you should proceed.”
      
      Tips for Consumers for Coping with Hail Damage:
      
       · Contact your insurance company immediately to report losses.
       · Get instructions from your adjuster BEFORE calling anyone to repair or replace damaged property. Your insurer’s visual inspection of your loss may be required before claims are paid. Ask your adjuster if any portion of your damage won’t be covered before you hire someone to do the repairs. For example, if you sustained broken windows and wind driven rain caused damage in your home that damage is probably not going to be covered under your homeowners policy.
       · If your home is damaged or is currently awaiting repairs, take steps to protect your home from further damage and document the state of your home with photos or video. Buy the materials you need to secure your property and minimize your losses. Cover your windows with plywood and move your vehicles into a garage or carport if possible.
       · Beware of downed power lines, especially near water, to avoid risk of electrocution.
       · When returning home, do not drive through flooded areas or through road barriers -they are there for your safety.
       · Beware of fly-by-night repair businesses. If someone offers something that is too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t get scammed. Only hire licensed and reputable service and repair people. Get references and use local businesses, when possible.
       · Take precautions if the damage requires you to leave your home for an extended period of time. Let your agent or insurance company know of your temporary forwarding address and phone number.
      
      Take pictures of your damage. When an entire community is affected by a loss of this nature, it may take some time before an adjuster can look at your property.
      Montanans needing insurance information or assistance can contact the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance office at 1-800-332-6148. “If you believe you have been treated unfairly in getting a claim paid, please contact the Policyholder Services Department of my office,” said Lindeen. “We have a team of advocates on staff that can help you through the claims process.”