State insurance Commissioner Troy Downing offered advice Tuesday to those affected by hail storms over the Independence Day weekend that damaged property and crops:
• Take photos and document all damage before cleaning up or starting repairs.
• Prevent more damage by covering windows and placing tarps over holes in roofs.
• Contact your insurance company immediately to get the claims process started.
• Never sign an agreement with a contractor until you have spoken with your insurance adjuster.
Downing also reminded Montanans to be wary of unscrupulous contractors.
“Following hail events, we often see an influx of ‘storm chasers’ coming from out-of-state to defraud Montanans,” he said in a news release. “Always verify your contractor is licensed to do business in Montana and check references. If a contractor is asking you to pay in full before the work is complete, this is a red flag to contact our office.”
Storms over the weekend caused reports of golf ball-size hail in some area of the state.
Most crop insurance plans are federally regulated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers and ranchers with problems related to a hail claim can contact the USDA RMA office in Billings by calling 657-6447.
For questions or complaints regarding insurance agents selling crop insurance, contact the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance at 406-444-2040.
“Just two weeks into summer, we have seen record-breaking flooding, hail events, and wildfires. It’s critical to speak with your insurance agent to ensure your property is adequately insured,” Downing stated.
He said with rising inflation, it’s possible your property is underinsured, and even small claims may not be paid in full by an insurance company.
For questions about your insurance coverage or to file a complaint, contact the Office of the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance by calling 406-444-2040 or by going to CSIMT.gov.