Frequently Asked Questions
Please click on the question below to view the answer.
We have wind damage, so what happens now?
Here’s how we’ll help you …
Thank you for informing Homestead Mutual Insurance Company. of your property damage. We understand this can be a difficult time, marked by uncertainty and anxiety. Most people who file a loss report are unfamiliar with the claim process. Common questions are: When will a claims representative review my loss? What are my responsibilities? Should I take photographs of the damage?
We have developed this brochure to answer those and other questions, and to give you guidance. Please read the information carefully. The claims representative handling your claim will be happy to answer any additional questions you have.
- Tell us where you can be reached
- Take measures to protect and clean up your property.
You have taken the first step by filing a loss report with your agent. A claims representative will contact you soon at the telephone number you provided to arrange an appointment. If you are not able to stay in your home, please share your temporary address and phone number with your agent or claims representative so we can stay in touch with you.
In a disaster situation, a team of claims representative will work in your area. We intend to make initial contact with each affected property owner within several days after a claim is filed. In major disasters, with hundreds of homes destroyed or badly damaged, it may take us a little longer to contact policyholders. We appreciate your patience.
There are several things you can do before the claims representative arrives at your property.
- Use plywood, tarps or other materials to cover broken windows and damaged rooftops. This will prevent further damage from inclement weather. Share with your claims representative copies of bills and receipts for all materials/services.
- Separate damaged and undamaged property, and begin to compile a list of the damaged items.
- If you have access to a camera, take photographs of damage to your structure and the damaged personal property. Give a set of the photographs to your claims representative.
A claims representative will visit your property. The claims representative may develop estimates on damage to your home and personal property. The amount of time spent on an investigation varies. A review of hail damage usually can be completed in one visit. An inspection of damage caused by a tornado may take several visits. Please try to be present during each appointment and point out all areas of concern.
Your claims representative will help you compile a list of personal property damaged in the storm. The list should be as complete and accurate as possible. We understand this can be a time-consuming and emotional task, but do the best you can. A well-done list speeds up the claim process. After you complete the list, provide a copy to your claims representative.
After the investigation is completed, the adjuster will contact you – in person or by telephone – to review your claim and discuss the settlement.
It is your responsibility to select a contractor and arrange for repairs. It is usually best to select a local contractor or repair service; one who has been in the area for several years, who is insured and bonded and who gives you a written guarantee.
As we work with you in the upcoming weeks, please feel free to ask questions and express all of your concerns. Thank you for insuring your property with Homestead Mutual Insurance Company .
We look forward to helping you.
We have hail damage, so what happens now?
Your Property... Studies have shown that generally, hail must be 1 ¼ inches in diameter (Half-Dollar size) before it causes damage to heavy composite shingles or wood shake shingles. Lightweight composite shingles may show damage after being struck by 1-inch diameter (Quarter size) hail. Usually only older composite shingles will show hail damage due to hail less than 1 inch in diameter, and the hail generally must be more than ¾ inch in diameter (Dime size).
- Check the trees, shrubs, and plants around your house. If they are stripped of their foliage, there is a possibility your roof is damaged. You should also check for roof damage if patio covers, screens, or soft aluminum roof vents are dented.
- Check your car for dents and broken or cracked glass.
- If safe to do so…Cover any broken windows and holes in your roof so that no water can enter and damage your home's interior.
- Please take all reasonable measures to protect your property. Have your roof tarped in any area that is leaking to prevent additional water damage.
- Make only temporary repairs. Your claims representative needs to look at the damage before permanent repairs can be authorized.
- Your claims representative will contact you shortly. If the storm was wide spread we may have a large number of our policyholders who need assistance, it may take us a little longer to contact policyholders. We appreciate your patience.
Your Repair Company...
- Allow only your insurance claims representative and the roofer you have selected to get up on your roof. Each time someone walks on it, more damage can occur.
- Be wary of out-of-town roofers who move into an area and set up shop following a storm. While some firms may be reputable, others have collected money from homeowners and moved on to the next storm site without paying suppliers.
- Select a company with established credibility and local references.
- Be sure the roofers have workers compensation and liability insurance. If they don't, you may be held liable if one of the workers is injured or if they damage a neighbor's property.
As we work with you in the upcoming weeks, please feel free to ask questions and express all of your concerns. Thank you for insuring your property with Homestead Mutual Insurance Company.
We look forward to helping you.
Will my claim be covered?
It will depend on a number of factors: what coverage you purchased in your Homestead Mutual Insurance Company policy, what caused the loss or damage, and what property was lost or damaged, to name a few. If you’re wondering if a particular loss or damage would be covered, contact your agent or our helpful claims staff at 1-800-393-4600.
Can I choose who will do repairs to my property?
Yes. Your Homestead Mutual Insurance Company claims representative will work with your choice of vendor or contractor.
How should I choose a contractor? Will Homestead Mutual Insurance Company recommend one?
We suggest that you seek out contractors who have a proven track record in your area. To help ensure that you choose a reliable contractor:
- Talk with friends, neighbors and relatives who have hired contractors.
- Get references from any contractor you interview, and check them.
- Contact your local Better Business Bureau for information about the contractors you’re considering.
- Don’t sign a contract until you’ve reviewed it carefully and have agreed to payment terms.
- Verify that the contractor has an active license in your state. In many cases, you’ll be able to check right on your state’s website.
Will repairs be done properly and workmanship guaranteed?
By choosing your own contractor, you manage their work and ensure that the repairs meet your standards. If Homestead Mutual Insurance Company sends a vendor to your property to do specific work (for example, emergency services after a house flood or fire), we assure you that their work is done to appropriate standards.
Do I need to file a police report for property damage or loss due to theft?
Yes. Reporting losses to the appropriate authorities is required by your policy.
When do I pay my deductible? To whom do I pay it?
Your deductible will be subtracted from the amount of your loss before we deliver your settlement payment. You will likely pay the amount of your deductible directly to your contractor once repairs are completed.
My home was damaged by burglars. Is the damage covered?
If you purchased dwelling coverage as part of your policy, the damage would be covered. To confirm this coverage, talk to your Homestead Mutual Insurance Company agent or your Homestead Mutual Insurance Company claims representative.
My home was damaged by a flood. Is the damage covered by my Homestead Mutual Insurance Company policy?
Homestead Mutual Insurance Company policies do not cover flood damage. If you also purchased flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program, the damages may be covered. Please speak with your Homestead Mutual Insurance Company agent to obtain more details.
Because of the damage, my home isn’t safe to live in. What do I do?
Your safety is priority number one! If you purchased additional living expenses coverage as part of your policy, and a covered loss makes your home uninhabitable, your policy will cover a reasonable increase in living costs to maintain your normal standard of living. Some restrictions and limitations apply, so please consult your Homestead Mutual Insurance Company claims representative.
What if I don’t have all the information about my loss right now? Should I wait to file a claim?
No. File your claim as soon as possible after your loss. Then, if you come across additional information that would help your Homestead Mutual Insurance Company claims representative with the claim, provide it to him or her at that point. We can even reopen a claim after it’s closed if you obtain information that might result in an additional payment to you.
What do you need to show proof of ownership for stolen property?
To prove that you owned property you are claiming as stolen, you may provide purchase receipts, owner’s manuals or product packaging, appraisals, or photographs of the items in your home.
My tree fell on my next-door neighbor’s roof. Does my insurance pay for the repairs, or does his?
You and your neighbor should both file a claim with your own insurers. We will investigate your claim and determine who might be responsible.
Do I need to hire a public adjuster?
If you’ve suffered a major loss, you may be contacted by a public adjuster. These are independent claims adjusters who will charge you a fee for their services based on the total value of your claim. That fee is not a covered expense; you cannot seek reimbursement for that cost from Homestead Mutual Insurance Company. We’re confident that your Homestead Mutual Insurance Company claims representative will investigate, evaluate and settle your claim fairly and efficiently, so that you do not need to hire a public adjuster, but the final decision is yours to make.
What else can I do if I have time before my first meeting with a Homestead Mutual Insurance Company claims representative?
If you can, start preparing a room-by-room inventory of damages and lost property. If you have the information, or remember it, include manufacturers’ names, model numbers, and purchase dates.
Should I start making repairs before you inspect the damage?
We know you’re eager to start putting your home back together, but it’s best to wait until we’ve conducted our first on-site inspection. The only thing you should do is protect your property from further damage, by covering broken windows, or gaps in the roof or exterior walls. That way, we can identify all the damages that may be covered by your policy, ensuring that you receive everything you’re entitled to.
How can I monitor the status of my claim?
Feel free to contact your Homestead Mutual Insurance Company claims representative when you need a status update, and let that person know how often, or at which points in the process, you’d like to be updated. We’ll be in touch at other times, too – whenever there’s something we need to discuss.
What if my contractor’s estimate is higher than Homestead Mutual Insurance Company’s?
Deliver a copy of your contractor’s estimate to your Homestead Mutual Insurance Company claims representative, who will review it, and connect with your contractor to discuss any differences and make any appropriate adjustments. Our estimate will be based on typical labor and materials rates in your community.
What if I don’t think Homestead Mutual Insurance Company’s estimate is adequate?
Because estimating involves judgment, there can be differences of opinion about what work needs to be done and how much that work should cost. If you are concerned about the estimate we’ve provided, contact your Homestead Mutual Insurance Company claims representative to discuss the issue. We may be able to resolve any differences by phone; if not, we’ll meet with you to review your concerns and determine how to proceed.
I have replacement cost coverage. Why did you show depreciation on the estimate?
If you purchased replacement cost coverage in your policy, we will cover the actual cost of repairing or replacing damaged, destroyed or stolen personal property with property of like kind and quality. We’ll make an initial payment based on the current value of that property; once you have repaired or replaced the covered item, we’ll pay an additional amount, up to the actual cost to repair or replace. Your Homestead Mutual Insurance Company agent or claims representative can give you specific information about your claim.
What if my contractor finds additional damage once repairs are underway?
Contact your Homestead Mutual Insurance Company claims representative and report the additional damage; we’ll re-inspect and determine whether the damage is covered by your policy.
How will Homestead Mutual Insurance Company handle my personal property claim?
If you purchased personal property coverage in your policy and your loss involves personal property, we’ll need a detailed list and description of all damaged, lost or stolen personal property. Your claims representative will help you catalog all items, and will then evaluate that information to determine what is covered and to establish its value.
Why is my settlement check made payable to both me and my mortgage company?
How do I get it endorsed so I can cash it to pay for repairs?
When you have a mortgage on your home, settlement checks typically are made payable to both you and your mortgagee, as required by the mortgagee. You’ll need to contact your mortgage company to find out how to obtain their endorsement on the check.