As you all know, our community was hit hard by yesterday's storms. Many of our homes—including my own—sustained significant wind and hail damage. While the storms were severe and the damage to homes was extensive, there were no reported fatalities—something we can all be grateful for.
I want to thank our city and utility workers for quickly clearing debris and restoring power to our community. According to Xcel Energy's outage map, it appears no part of Blaine is impacted by the outages that are impacting other parts of the state.
Those of you who live in an association likely have exterior damage insurance. Be sure to let your association know about any damage and they will handle it from there.
I wanted to pass along a series of tips from the Minnesota Department of Commerce to help those who will need repair work. You can visit the Department of Commerce website for a full list and other tips on how to prepare for and respond to severe weather and natural disasters.
As always, please don't hesitate to contact my office if you need information or if I can be of assistance. It's truly an honor to represent Blaine at the legislature.
State Representative, District 37B
Tips from the Department of Commerce:
Notify your insurance company or agent as soon as you can to start the claims process. If possible, have your policy information available when you call.
Make temporary inexpensive repairs to prevent further damage. For example, board up broken windows or throw a tarp over a leaky roof. Keep receipts for materials you buy, so you can be reimbursed. Do not make permanent repairs until your insurance company has inspected the damage.
Record the damage. Take photos or video if possible. Make a detailed list of all personal property destroyed, damaged or lost. Share this list with the insurance adjuster. Do not throw out any damaged items until the adjuster has inspected them.
If you need to relocate because of damage to your home, keep receipts for your temporary living expenses. Ask your insurance agent or company if your policy covers living expenses until repairs are made. Many homeowners policies provide for temporary lodging and meal expenses up to a certain percentage of the home’s insured value.
Work with the insurance company adjuster. Your insurance company will send an adjuster to inspect the damage. The insurer pays the adjuster, so you should not be asked for any payment.
The adjuster will provide you with a proof-of-loss form. Use this form to file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. You will receive your claim payment after you and the insurer agree on the amount of the damages.
You have the right to choose which contractor will repair your home. Once your insurance claim is processed, get estimates from local contractors known to you or recommended by someone you trust. Avoid “storm chaser” contractors from out of town who go door to door. Ask contractors for references and proof of workers compensation insurance. Check their license status and any disciplinary actions at the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry website.
Insist on detailed, written estimates for repairs. Avoid high-pressure sales tactics. Some scammers will try to trick you into signing a contract by saying it is an estimate. Your signature is not required to receive an estimate.
Prepare a written contract agreement with anyone you hire. It should specify the work to be done, the materials to be used and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. Do not pay the whole repair bill in advance. Pay in full only when the work is completed according to your agreement.
Your homeowners insurance will generally cover removal of a fallen tree only if it caused damage to your house or other insured structure. There may also be a coverage limit for the cost of removal.
Storm damage to your vehicle may be covered by your auto insurance. Whether your vehicle was damaged by hail or a fallen tree, your loss may be covered as long as you selected "Comprehensive" or “Other than Collision” in your auto policy. Check your “Minnesota Insurance Identification Card” or call your agent or insurance company.
Contact the Minnesota Commerce Department if you have a problem with your insurance company or agent. If you have a complaint or cannot resolve your insurance claim, contact the Commerce Department for assistance.