Storm Damage and Insurance Claims in Illinois: A Homeowner’s Guide

Identifying Damage, Navigating Claims, and Restoring Your Peace of Mind

When a storm strikes, it can leave a trail of destruction in its wake. From roof shingles torn away by fierce winds to water damage caused by heavy rains, storm-related issues can be both physically and emotionally taxing. Fortunately, your homeowner’s insurance policy is designed to provide you with financial protection during these trying times. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essential steps of identifying storm damage and navigating the insurance claims process.

What Are the Next Steps After Storm Damage?

Identifying Damage

  1. Exterior Inspection:
    • Begin by examining the exterior of your home. Look for visible signs of damage such as missing shingles, dents in metal surfaces, cracked windows, or fallen tree limbs.
  2. Roof Assessment:
    • Your roof is particularly vulnerable to storm damage. Check for shingles that are curled, torn, or missing. Inspect flashing around chimneys and vents for damage.
  3. Water Damage:
    • Water infiltration can lead to costly repairs. Look for water stains on ceilings or walls, as well as signs of mold or mildew growth. Even a small leak can lead to significant issues over time.
  4. Gutters and Downspouts:
    • Ensure that your gutters and downspouts are intact and functioning correctly. Blocked or damaged gutters can result in water damage to your home’s foundation.
  5. Siding and Exterior Walls:
    • Examine your siding and exterior walls for cracks, dents, or loose panels caused by hail, wind, or flying debris.
  6. Landscaping and Trees:
    • Assess the condition of your landscaping and trees. Fallen branches or uprooted trees can cause severe damage to your property.

Documenting Damage

  1. Photographic Evidence:
    • Take clear and detailed photographs of all damage, both inside and outside your home. These visuals will be essential when filing your insurance claim.
  2. Written Documentation:
    • Create a written inventory of damaged items, including their estimated value and purchase date. This documentation will help determine the compensation you are eligible for.

Navigating the Insurance Claims Process

  1. Contact Your Insurance Company:
    • Notify your insurance provider as soon as you discover storm damage. Be prepared to provide them with a description of the damage and supporting documentation.
  2. File a Claim:
    • Your insurer will guide you through the claims process, including the submission of necessary forms and documents. Ensure that you comply with their requirements promptly.
  3. Schedule an Inspection:
    • Your insurance company may send an adjuster to inspect the damage. Be present during this inspection and provide the evidence you have collected.
  4. Obtain Estimates:
    • Obtain repair estimates from reputable contractors. These estimates will help you negotiate a fair settlement with your insurer.
  5. Review Your Policy:
    • Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy to understand the coverage limits and deductibles that apply to your claim.
  6. Be Patient and Persistent:
    • The claims process may take time. Stay in regular contact with your insurance company and follow up as needed to expedite the resolution.

Rest assured, our team is here from start to finish when a storm hits your home in the Greater Chicago Area. Call now for a FREE inspection.