Damage from acts of God, which is what the storms that rolled through our area Sunday are considered, are usually covered by homeowner’s insurance including dings to your home from hail.
But there are so many factors that come into play in regards to the extent of your coverage. For example, some plans cap the amount of money you can get even if the repairs are more.
So, what your insurance is willing to hand out will likely be very different from your neighbors.
For example, a huge tree came crashing down into Mike Behm’s Bainbridge home on Sunday, and it’s not the first time.
"We had a tree fall before and they came out right away and basically gave us a check,” he told us.
And his insurance will likely cover him this time, but every policy is different. So, you need to read the fine print because there are exclusions.
Kevin Jefferies, a Consumer Protection Liaison says, "If your neighbor’s tree fell on your house, your homeowner’s insurance would pay for that."
And insurance would typically pay to remove the parts that get in the way of repairs. But if a tree goes down in your yard with no damage, he says, "The tree is the responsibility of the homeowner. If it lands in the street, it is their responsibility to remove it.”
And that is something the Hack family found out after a huge tree went down in their yard…something that was going to cost them several thousand dollars to remove.
Jody says, "We thought as a homeowner that you have coverage, and whatever is damaged, they are going to put it back to the original. That's not the case.”
Be sure to contact your insurance company quickly, especially if the damage is severe. That's because insurance may cover more than just repairs.
"It can also cover expenses to live outside of your home while your home is getting fixed,” says Kim Lankford, an insurance expert who writes for the business publication Kiplinger.
And if your roof is leaking, cover it with a tarp,because if you fail to prevent more damage, that could jeopardize your claim.
Now, if your car was damaged, that doesn't go through homeowner’s but your car insurance. And you’re likely only covered if you have Comprehensive coverage, not State minimum insurance.
But if you are going to file any claim, document the damage.
Lankford says, "Take your cellphone camera and video everything. Walk around the house, walk around inside. That's all going to be important evidence when you file your claim."
In some cases, you may not want to file a claim at all, because your rates could go up or you could get dropped all together.
But one thing is for sure, if your insurance company is slow to respond, call the Ohio Department of Insurance and file a complaint.
And what you need to be wary of are so called Storm Chasers. They're contractors, usually from out of state, that travel to areas hit by storms. Many are known for offering to do repairs on the cheap, but doing shoddy work, or not finishing the job at all and then hightailing it out of town.
You also need to think about the value of private insurance adjusters. Many know more about the ins and outs of insurance coverage than the average home owner and offer to be the mediator between you and your provider. But they get a cut of the money you get back from insurance and there's no guarantee they'll do a better job of getting coverage than you will by just calling your agent.