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After The Storm Comes Insurance Claims; Commissioner Offers Advice

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Robin Kyle had never filed an insurance claim on her home until Tuesday night's storm knocked a large tree onto her house. Robin Kyle had never filed an insurance claim on her home until Tuesday night's storm knocked a large tree onto her house.
Kyle said, before they did anything, she called her insurance agent. Kyle said, before they did anything, she called her insurance agent.
Kyle's home was one of Governor Mary Fallin's stops in Tulsa during her tour of the damage Friday. Kyle's home was one of Governor Mary Fallin's stops in Tulsa during her tour of the damage Friday.
Insurance Comissioner John Doak shared with us some tips he said may help keep homeowners with damage from paying out of pocket. Insurance Comissioner John Doak shared with us some tips he said may help keep homeowners with damage from paying out of pocket.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The clean-up from this week's storms is still on going, but for many of those with damage, the process of dealing with insurance companies is just beginning.

Insurance Comissioner John Doak shared with us some tips he said may help keep homeowners with damage from paying out of pocket.

Doak said, while every insurance claim is different, many of the steps you take to protect yourself when filing and insurance claim are the same.

Robin Kyle had never filed an insurance claim on her home until Tuesday night's storm knocked a large tree onto her house. Kyle's home was one of Governor Mary Fallin's stops in Tulsa during her tour of the damage Friday.

Kyle said, before they did anything, she called her insurance agent.

"She said, 'First thing, call a tree company that's listed in the Yellow Pages. Do not go to the Internet," she said.

Kyle was told companies in the Yellow Pages tend to be more reputable and more likely to be listed with the Better Business Bureau.

She said it's also important to know your policy.

"Anytime it's wind damage or tornado damage, your deductible is one percent of the value of your home; it's not $500, and that's a big pill to swallow," Kyle said.

7/26/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Better Business Bureau Warns Of Fly-By-Night Tree Removal Services

"It's all of those special coverages inside that consumers need to be sitting down with their broker and going over," Doak said.

The Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner said close to 1,000 adjusters have been brought in to assist with claims. He said each homeowner has up to a year to file a claim, and when choosing contractors, it's important to keep certain things in mind.

"Look for references, be very careful about signing a contract, and read what it says. Don't pay until the job is complete," Doak said. "Any large transactions of cash should be a red flag."

Doak said, in an instance like what Robin Kyle is dealing with, when a tree falls on top of a home, you need to make sure you get the area secured as soon as possible, because if you don't and it begins to rain and other items inside your home are lost, your insurance won't cover it.

The insurance department says it's also important not to discard anything that is destroyed, and most importantly, hang on to all receipts, so you don't end up paying out of pocket.

"This is what insurance is for," Doak said. "It's these policies that thousands of Oklahomans have that we pay for year 'round."

Commissioner Doak said, if you don't like how your insurance is handling a claim, contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department by calling 1-800-522-0071.

Go here for more post-disaster tips from the Oklahoma Insurance Department

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