Many Minnesotans are dealing with deep dents in roofs, smashed windows on cars and structural damage to homes after Tuesday's storms. FOX 9 News spoke with an insurance pro on what to do.
Troy Thompson, owner of Pinnacle Insurance of Minnesota, shared his advice for homeowners and car owners on how to navigate claims.
Q: Are there ways to tell if your roof has been damaged without actually climbing up there?
A: Yes, there are. There are ways to assess that damage. The way to do that is just to get outside, take a walk around your house, take a look at the metals, like the fascia, the down spouts. If you have a car out there, if there are dents on that, you likely have some damage to your roof.
Q: What's the next step you should take?
A: What I recommend for all my clients is to go out and talk to a trusted contractor to get out there, take a look at it -- even get up there with them. Have them show you where the damage is. If they say there is damage, then you probably should take the next step which is to file the claim.
Q: How do you know it's a trusted contractor?
A: Very good question. The way to do that: Make sure they're local; look how long they have been in business; check out the Better Business Bureau and just talk to friends and family that have used them before.
Q: Damage to a car is a whole different animal because it's easier to see. Does insurance cover all of that?
A: What you have to consider is if you have full coverage or, more specifically, comprehensive coverage. If you don't have comprehensive coverage, you will not get a penny from your insurance company. Then what you have to … look at what your deductible is because you have to take that off what the insurance company is going to pay to reimburse you.
Q: If you are covered, what steps should you take to get your car fixed?
A: The adjusters out there are busy the next few weeks. You can bring it to whatever body shop you want. Just make sure to call your company. The adjuster will go out and give you an estimate, and hopefully that will match up with the body shop and you are on your merry way.
Q: We have heard of people just pocketing the money and not getting their car fixed. Is that legal?
A: What you want to remember about that -- let's say your car is worth $10,000 and you incur $3,000 worth of hail damage to it and decide to pocket that money. Well, if you don't get that car fixed and you total your car a few months down the road, you're not going to get $10,000. You're just going to get $7,000.
Q: Any final words of advice?
A: Be careful about putting in claims before you absolutely know there is damage because that can go on your record and that can affect your rates down the road.