At least one insurance company is having to bring in agents from out of state to handle all of the claims from severe weather that swept across Iowa last Thursday afternoon and evening.
Hundreds of customers report damage to their homes and vehicles from large hail and high winds. Chris Pilcic, a spokesman for State Farm, says a few areas had tennis ball-sized hail and there’s damage from Shenandoah to Dubuque.
“It was really statewide, in different parts of the state geographically, though we are concentrating on some of the metro areas where we’ve had the most claim volume,” Pilcic says. “In addition to the local resources who’ve been working since the day of the storm, we’ve deployed more resources to those areas.”
Those include: Des Moines, Cedar Falls, Waterloo and Davenport. The company’s claims specialists report a lot of roof damage, but also dented siding to homes and shattered windows, primarily from hail, but also from wind.
“Since the severe weather in Iowa, we’ve heard from over 1,000 customers reporting damage,” Pilcic says. “The majority of claims we’re hearing about thus far is to automobiles, over 600 claims have been filed. On the homeowners’ side, we’ve heard from nearly 500 customers reporting damage to their homes.”
As of this morning, State Farm reported a total of 1,010 hail claims in Iowa from last week’s storms. In all of last year, the company had 2,700 hail claims in the state. Given the backlog of claims, some customers haven’t yet had a personal visit from their agent and Pilcic says you shouldn’t wait to take action to protect your property.
“If you have broken windows, if you’re missing shingles or there’s a hole in your roof, if there’s really significant damage, you can take steps to make temporary repairs,” Pilcic says. “If you buy tarps or plywood or even if you hire someone to make those temporary repairs, take pictures, save your receipts, save your invoices and tell your insurance company about it. That’s going to be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.”
If you need to hire help to make repairs, he offers some advice: Don’t pay anything up front, get everything in writing, and get references and a physical business address of the contractor.