Angus residents now face bureaucracy of insurance claims
Published Monday, June 23, 2014 7:54PM EDT
It’s not just damaged property, debris, and scattered belongings people have to sift through after a natural disaster.
With a big insurance claim comes a lot of red tape.
In an Angus neighbourhood hit by a tornado, there are more contractors and insurance people than anyone else and residents are finding out what the insurance process is all about.
Susan Atkinson has been selling insurance for more than 40 years and she's handling a number of claims from the Angus tornado. She says the number-one question she hears from clients is, ‘Am I covered?’
“Hurricanes, tornados, hailstorms – people think that ‘acts of god’ are not covered, but in fact they're all covered,” says Atkinson, with Spriggs Insurance Brokers.
Flood issues are the only exception, and while insurance prices fluctuate all the time that's why consumers should shop around. Atkinson says insurance companies have already paid out advances for victims of the Angus tornado to help cover food, medication, clothing, and lodging. For Alex Scott and his family, that means staying in a hotel. He's grateful for the help, but wants things to move quicker.
“I find it a very slow process. It happened Tuesday and now it's Monday and we've had no work on the house,” Scott says.
And while insurance companies and contractors sort out what work is to be done first, Atkinson says tornado victims must understand not only what their policy covers but what it doesn’t cover.
While a home and its contents is almost always covered, policy holders could be on their own for covering the cost of arborists and others who assist in clearing away and replacing trees and branches outside their homes.
“There is some limitations to replacement of trees and shrubbery to a policy, yes,” says Atkinson.
And while damage costs could run into the tens of millions of dollars, tornado victims Barry Harting and Jennifer Pillbeam say the neighbourhood talk is all centred on what insurance companies will do next.