With the possibility of severe weather from Hurricane Hilary impacting parts of Arizona, the Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions (DIFI) reminds residents of the following tips to consider before a storm’s impact:

Prepare Now

The best time to prepare for what to do after a storm or disaster is before the event happens. In some situations, home insurance or auto insurance may cover damage to your home or car caused by fire, wind, rain, snow, lightning, or hail. Your policy may have limitations that may cause your home or car not to be covered by insurance. Review your insurance policy for specific information on your policy coverages, conditions, and exclusions.

Damage caused by flooding is not typically covered by homeowners insurance. To cover your home for flood damage, you must have flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or through a Private Flood policy . For more information, contact your insurance agent, visit the NFIP website at https://www.floodsmart.gov/, and see our page on Flood Insurance. Keep in mind for NFIP coverage  there is a waiting period, after purchase, before flood insurance provides coverage. If you have water damage to the inside of your home from rain, your insurance policy may not cover the damage unless the rain enters through a roof or wall damaged by wind or hail.

The projected path of this storm may cause impacts to farmland in western Arizona. Consumers who have crop insurance are reminded to contact the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation here for assistance.

Create a Home Inventory and Keep it Up to Date

If you don’t already have a home inventory, begin writing a detailed list of your personal belongings. Ask your insurer for any tools they have to help you with this. Taking photos and recording specific information about the items may be very helpful with subsequent claims. Safeguard important documents like family photos and ownership records in a secure place that is not subject to storm damage.

Making Repairs After Damage From a Storm 

If your property is damaged by a storm, keep in mind the following tips about your property insurance:

Contact your insurance company BEFORE you begin to repair, replace, clean, or dispose of your property. Your insurance policy requires that you show damaged property to the insurer, so if you begin to repair, clean, or replace property before the insurer has an opportunity to confirm and evaluate the damage, the insurer could deny your claims.

If you must urgently repair part of your home or car to protect it from further damage, keep very detailed records of the actual damage (photos, video) and keep detailed receipts to document the cost of the repairs.

Be wary of “traveling” repair services. Research all construction, cleaning, and debris removal contractors BEFORE you enter into a contract and pay for any services. Contact the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (877-692-9762 or 602- 542-1525 or AZ Registrar of Contractors) to verify licensure and the Better Business Bureau of Central, Northern & Western Arizona (602-264-1721) to inquire about complaints. Additionally, be wary of any claim appraisers who are not directly affiliated with your insurance company and you did not call.

Communication is Key to a Seamless Claims Process

Damage caused by storm events or natural disasters are generally covered by most home or auto insurance policies, but you should read your insurance policy or speak with your insurance agent (producer) or insurance company for more specific information. Communicating directly with your insurance agent or company will likely be the best way to work through any claims process.

And finally,  If you believe you have been a victim of improper insurance practices, you can file a complaint by visiting DIFI’s website. Consumers can also contact DIFI with insurance questions at (602) 364-2499 or [email protected].