12 On Your Side: What you need to know before filing that insurance claim

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Feb. 17, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) "It is a catastrophe that you can't even fathom to think about," said State Farm Insurance Agent Chris Douse. He is talking about the enormous amount of property damage left in the wake of last week's massive ice storm. Much of the destruction came from limbs and trees that toppled onto roofs.

"If its damage to your home the first thing you want to do is remove the limbs remove the limbs from the home and then you want to certainly prevent any further damage," said Douse. By protecting it with a tarp even before you decide whether to file an insurance claim or not.

"Chances are if it's a roof situation that's a no brainer but your going to have some smaller claims that are not going to meet your deductible so you are better off not even calling and reporting it," said Douse.

He said you will want to review your policy's deductible. "If I have a $500 deductible but I have $600 dollars in damage do you want the insurance company to spend $100 on your claim? If a hundred bucks is worth it to you file the claim," said Douse.

But it could potentially raise your premiums so Douse suggests considering a dollar range in damage that would need to occur before you would file a claim on your insurance. And with all those downed trees, chances are one may have fallen from your neighbors yard damaging your house or property. If you cannot prove the tree was damaged or diseased you will be footing the bill.

"It's a perfectly healthy tree prior to the storm, who is to say it was ever going to fall," said Douse. Meanwhile, Douse has some advise for everyone who owns or rents property. "If you have a roof over your head you should have insurance if you have any thing that is of value you should have insurance," said Douse.

Douse said plan ahead and consider how much damage you would need to have before you would consider filing a claim. He said sometimes it's worth it and sometimes it's not.

State Farm Insurance has set up a mobile claims site at Lowes Home Improvement at 224 Bobby Jones Expressway in Augusta.

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