(406) 652-4180 • 1320 28th Street West, Billings, MT

Claims—Surviving the Storm

Common questions after damage from the hail storm.

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What if I can't get my repairs made this year?

I got my renewal but my premium went up. How do I deal with this? My home insurance is being non-renewed by my insurance company! What do I do?

The hail storm we had in Billings on May 18, 2014, was classified as a "catastrophic loss" event. Significant damage was done, and a considerable amount of money has been spent making repairs....if you were even able to make your repairs this year.

Roofers descended upon the town in their own little storm surge with out of state license plates and aggressive marketing behaviors. Homeowners were overwhelmed and often confused by the process. We fielded many calls and sat across the desk from many of our clients needing assistance.

What Now...?

What if I can't get my repairs made this year? What if my insurance company is non-renewing my policy? Here are a few of our thoughts.

For those of you who have two or more storm claims you should appreciate seeing your renewal come in the mail. If your premium has gone up consider taking a higher deductible for some premium savings. In some cases $2500 or $5000 will not be out of the question. THERE IS NO SIMPLE SOLUTION for the homeowner who has experienced multiple storm claims, and a call to another agent will not likely provide a money saving opportunity. Insurance companies will typically look at your claims experience for a period of three to five years when underwriting your policy, so getting some loss free years between yourself and the storms will be your ticket to other opportunities and rate savings.

If you are uncertain about whether you will be renewed or not we would suggest contacting your agent for their opinion about what your insurer is doing. If you are at risk of NOT getting a renewal offer, proceed to have your storm repairs made as soon as possible. If a caller to our agency tells us they are being non-renewed, and they have unrepaired storm damage – the interested markets shrink to almost nothing and what is left is less than ideal.

Please know we are getting numerous calls from people insured by a variety of insurance companies who find themselves in this position.

If you are NOT at risk of being non-renewed, and the damage to your home is not severe enough that you are at immediate risk of leaking or further damage, then you should be OK to plan your repairs for the Spring at a time when your local contractor will be free to schedule more work.

Check with your agent or insurance company to see if you need to REQUEST AN EXTENSION for making your repairs. Every policy can address the need for an extension to your claim a bit differently so it is wise to cover that base if your repairs have to wait.

We are hoping for some kinder, gentler weather so we can go through a period of recovery here in the Billings area. Hang in there, and know that your agent is your advocate. They should be able to give you their honest opinion about your best course of action.

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Darnielle Insurance is available to answer your questions. We are located at 1320 28th Street West, Billings, MT 59102. Give us a call at 406-652-4180.

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