Many Oklahomans are cleaning up after the storms that swept through the state over the
weekend. But the clean-up is just part of the recovery effort. Navigating through the
insurance claim process can be confusing and stressful. Here are a few tips to help make
it a little bit easier.
1. Know what your insurance covers. This will help you understand when to file a
claim in the first place.
- Fallen Trees and Limbs Much of the damage caused from this weekend’s
storms was from fallen trees and limbs. If a tree hits a home or other insured
structure, like a detached garage, standard homeowners insurance provides
coverage for the damage the tree does to the structure and the contents in it. It
does not matter whether you own the tree. If a tree or branches cause damage to
your car, comprehensive coverage of an auto policy would cover the cost of
- FloodingFlood damage is generally not covered by a standard homeowners or
renter’s insurance policy. But flood damage on your car is covered under
comprehensive coverage of your auto insurance policy.
- Lightning Damage caused by lightning, such as fire, is covered by standard
homeowners and business insurance policies. Some home and business insurance
policies provide coverage for power surges that are the direct result of lightning
striking a home or business. There is also coverage for lightning damage under
the comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy.
2. Start the claims process as quickly as possible. Most insurance companies have a
time requirement for filing a claim, so contact your insurance company as soon as
possible. When reporting your losses, have your insurance information, current contact
information and home inventory handy. If you do not have a home inventory, begin
making a list of items, going room by room and include as much detail as possible.
Also, if your car sustained damage while in your garage or carport, it is covered by your
auto insurance, not homeowners. You will need to file a claim with both companies, your
auto carrier will cover the damage to your auto and the homeowners will cover the
damage to your carport or garage.
3. Understand the claims process. After you file your claim, your insurance company
will send a claims adjuster to your home to assess the damage at no cost to you. The
adjuster will walk through your home or property to see the damage. Once the adjuster
has completed an assessment, he or she will provide a written report of the loss to your
insurance company to determine your claims settlement.
When it comes to paying your claim, you may receive more than one check. The first
check will likely be an emergency advance. Any further payments for the contents of
your home and other personal property will be made to you. However, if there is a
mortgage on your home, the payment for structural damage may be payable to you and
your mortgage lender. Lenders may put that money into an escrow account and pay for
repairs as the work is completed.
4. Know your rights.The Oklahoma Insurance Consumer Bill of Rights is a summary of
your legal rights under state insurance laws. Also, if you feel your insurance company is
not responding quickly enough or completing a reasonable investigation into your claim,
contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website at