Insurance agent gives tips on what to do after tragedy

AMORY, Miss. (WCBI) – While communities across the state are still reeling from Friday night’s tornadoes, homeowners are beginning the process of recovery and their next steps to rebuilding,

But it can be tough to keep up with all the items on the to-do list.

At the top should be to talk to your insurance agent.

Homes, cars, businesses, boats, even that watch that your great-grandmother gave you.

All of those things could be valuable to you, and while they can never fully be replaced you can talk to an insurance agent about being compensated for what you lost.

Buddy Carlisle had been living in his home for 52 years when Friday night’s tornado hit.

“I knew it was going to get worse so we got in the storm cellar and we had probably been there a good five minutes when the storm hit and you kind of heard roaring around but you didn’t think much of it until we came out of the storm cellar and there were three trees through our house,” said Carlisle.

Just minutes after the storm was over Carlisle realized that his house was not in the same shape it was in before the storm.

Before he could even think about what his next steps would be, his insurance agent called to help him start the claims process.

State Farm Insurance Agent Michael Cole said Carlisle was one of many to lose a home in this tragedy, but he says in most cases the steps to follow afterward are the same.

“Your first step is to open a claim you’re not going to get any help from your insurance provider unless you have a claim open. You need to open a claim number. Open a claim so that they have a claim number and your contact information so that they can help you. After that, you make sure that you mitigate any damages. Put tarps on and try to stop the ongoing effects of the damages to your home to the best of your ability,” said Cole.

And Cole said that you will need a separate claim number for each property that was damaged.

“Your homeowner policy does not cover storm damage to your auto. That’s one thing that we’ve had to explain to a lot of customers. We need to get separate claims for the home, the auto, and the boat, those are all covered under separate policies so we will have to have separate claims and separate claim numbers,” said Carlisle.

Carlisle said he never thought he would witness trees laying in the middle of his home but that’s why he is happy that he has insurance for unexpected situations.

During this disaster, insurance agents are working around the clock. Remain patient. It may be a few days before they can get to you.

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