American Family Insurance declares catastrophe for Minnesota, Wisconsin storms; 7,000 claims already filed

Eden Prairie, Minn. (May 27, 2008) —A catastrophe team from American Family Insurance is responding to communities west, north and east of the Twin Cities following Sunday’s tornadoes and hailstorm. The company has already received 7,000 claims from the storms, including dozens of claims for destroyed or severely damaged homes in Hugo.

The company expects claim counts will continue to rise over the next several days. Estimates on total claim payments are not yet available.

American Family customers who have claims should immediately contact their agent or the company’s 24-hour Customer Care Center 1-800-MYAMFAM (1-800-692-6326) to arrange an inspection of their damaged property or vehicle.

Local American Family agents and claim adjusters responded to Hugo within hours of the storm. Approximately 100 adjusters and other staff have been called in to assist with the claim response, which will include several drive-in sites for inspecting hail-damaged vehicles

Damage from the storm extends from Monticello, Minn., east to the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities and continuing into western Wisconsin, including the communities of Somerset, New Richmond and Boyceville. 

Questions and answers for American Family customers:

How do I report my claim? To report a claim, please contact our 24-hour Claim Customer Care Center at 1-800-MYAMFAM (1-800-692-6326) or your American Family Insurance agent.
What damages to my property might be covered? Your homeowners insurance policy covers tornado, wind and hail damage to your home and personal property. The “comprehensive” section of your auto insurance policy provides coverage for tornado, wind and hail damage to your vehicle.

Civil authorities have ordered me to evacuate my home. Does my policy pay for food and lodging during this time? Your homeowners insurance policy pays for additional living expenses for up to two weeks if you are denied access to your home by the civil authorities. This includes reasonable motel and food expenses. Keep copies of the receipts for your adjuster.

Can I get an emergency advance payment? Yes. If you have a covered loss and need emergency funds, we can provide you an advance payment. This advance payment will be applied to your final claim settlement.

Can I start to make repairs to prevent further damage? You should protect your property immediately against further damage and theft. Use plywood, tarps or other materials to cover broken windows and damaged rooftops. Keep the receipts of any materials/services that you purchase to make these repairs so your adjuster can review them and reimburse you for expenses covered by your policy.

Is there anything I can do to help with the claim process? Begin to compile a list of personal property and belongings you believe were damaged or destroyed by the storm. Briefly describe each item, including its age, current value, make, model and serial number.

When can I remove debris from my property?  Document your storm-damaged belongings with photographs, video and/or a written list before disposing of debris. If this is not possible, please wait to remove the debris until an adjuster can help you with the documentation.

Do I have coverage to replace damaged trees or remove tree debris caused by the storm? Homeowners insurance generally does not cover damage to trees or the removal of tree debris from the property. If a tree has fallen on your home and caused damage, however, we will pay to cut away that part of the tree so repairs can be made; most policies will also pay up to $500 for removing that part of the tree from the property. Check your policy for specific coverage.

The storm caused a neighbor’s tree to fall on my house? Whose insurance company should I report my claim to – the neighbor’s or mine? Report the claim to your insurance company. Since damage was caused by an act of nature and not caused by negligence on the part of your neighbor, your insurance policy applies. If the roles were reversed and a tree from your property fell on your neighbor’s home, the neighbor’s insurance policy would apply.

Who do I call to make repairs? You are free to select any contractor or repair shop you wish. It is usually best to select one who has operated in the area for several years, is insured and bonded, and will give you a written guarantee for the work performed.