Storm damage? What you need to know to file a claim

- After Wednesday's winds it’s time for homeowners and business owners to pick up the pieces.

With everything you need to know about how to get the most from your policy is a public adjuster Carl Gross from Globe Midwest.

FOX 2: "If we have damage to our homes or businesses what's the very first thing we should do?"

"The very first thing you should do is to protect the property from further damage," he said. "With the event that just occurred it's removing a tree that could be on the roof then tarping it to prevent rain that could eventually come in or snow that is on the way here."

FOX 2: "If I've got a broken window make sure I board that up."

"Exactly," Gross said.

FOX 2: "Is there a correct way to make sure that I catalogue the damage?"

"What you want to do is photograph all the damages," he said. "You want to notify your agent or the insurance company and you want to remove the tree if it's on your home from your roof, and tarp it."

FOX 2: "So I can use my cell phone to take pictures of that."

"Yes," Gross said.

FOX 2: "Now with the tree if I pay for the removal of that tree can I then file a claim with the insurance company for what I have to pay to get the tree down?"

"Not all policies are universal," Gross said. "Usually if a tree is on a home they will pay for the removal of the tree from the house. If it falls in the yard the insurance company will not pay that cost associated with removing the tree chopping it up and having it hauled away."

FOX 2: "All policies are different they cover various things. That's why it's a good idea to call in somebody like you a public adjuster. You work for the homeowners whereas the insurance company may have its own adjuster in there?"

"It is always to the property owner, the homeowner or the business owner's best interest to have an advocate on their side to help them navigate the recovery," Gross said. "We work for the insured, not the insurance companies. So our allegiance is to the insured."

"Frequently and not to cast dispersions on insurance company but the insurance company wants to write the smallest check possible to make you whole. You on the other hand may see other aspects of the damage or other aspects of the building that might need be repaired that the insurance company might not see."

"You're correct, I mean, the insurance company is a business," Gross said. "Unfortunately, they don't make money when they have to pay out claims. If we're talking about large claims it's less money for their bottom line."

FOX 2: "But now you charge money, too?"

"We do, we charge a percentage of the recovery which is 10 percent in the state of Michigan," Gross said. "Getting back to one of your points about documenting the damages. When have you this type of event it's not just the roof there's windows, there's painting of the homes, there's gutters, downspouts, window casings, there is a lot more that's involved than just replacing shingles on the roof."


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