Weekend storms cause destruction across northern Wisconsin
American Family Insurance teams are on the ground helping thousands of customers.
It was a shocking weekend for many northern Wisconsin residents as severe weather, including straight line winds and tornadoes, ripped through the region on both Friday and Saturday nights. American Family insurance has received more than 2,000 claims and that number is growing. Much of the devastation is from downed trees landing on homes, buildings and vehicles.
Tina Rieger, an American Family Insurance property adjuster, said she inspected a house in the Turtle Lake area that had more than 20 trees fall on it. She’s seen a lot of storm damage in her 11 years as an adjuster but said the tree damage from this storm is remarkable. “I’m in awe because you look around and in some areas all the trees are down.”
American Family Insurance claims teams and agents have been tirelessly working with customers affected by the weekend storms to start assessing damage. In some cases, access to properties has been hampered by fallen trees and power outages.
Damage stretches across state
Property, commercial and auto claims are coming in from across northern Wisconsin, with catastrophe storm teams responding to customers in 17 counties. So far, many of the 2,000-plus claims are for wind damage or damage caused by falling trees, said Bradley Lehman, who’s overseeing the company’s storm response. That number is expected to rise. Currently, dozens of property adjusters have been deployed and more auto adjusters are on their way.
“We’ll be here working with our customers for as long as it takes,” Lehman said.
Report claims immediately
Customers with damage should report their claims as soon as possible – by phone at 800-MYAMFAM (692-6326), online at amfam.com/claims or through their insurance agent.
Customers can also file their auto hail damage claims and their property hail or wind damage claims by texting the word “STORM” to 26326 (AMFAM). Please note that message and data rates may apply. Using this channel may reduce customer wait time and decrease time reporting the claim but should not be used if immediate response is needed.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
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.
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 pay to cut away that part of the tree so repairs can be made; most policies 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 American Family Insurance. Since the cause of damage was an act of nature, 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.
How will the inspection process work?
If your home has sustained damage, an adjuster will contact you at one of the phone numbers you provided when you reported your claim. The two of you will schedule an inspection of your home, after which the adjuster will develop an estimate and issue payment for repairs covered by your policy.
Who do I call to make repairs?
You are free to select any contractor (home) or repair shop (auto) you wish. It is usually best to select one who has operated in the area for several years, is insured and bonded and gives you a written guarantee for the work performed.
About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance group is the nation's 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks No. 306 on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, primarily through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General and Homesite) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the internet or by phone. Affiliate Main Street America sells insurance products through independent agents. Web www.amfam.com; Facebook www.facebook.com/amfam; Twitter www.twitter.com/amfam.