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Disaster Information Center

The Minnesota Department of Commerce helps consumers in the event of a natural disaster.

Our experts can help you understand your rights, work with your insurer to settle a claim, and help you make informed insurance decisions after a flood or storm damages your home, auto, or property.

Immediately after the storm 

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, there are basics steps that you can take to get you on the road to recovery. The first thing you should do is to call your insurance company for the relevant property (homeowners, renters, or auto).

  • Make sure that the structure is safe to enter and shut off electricity.
  • Before you start to clean up, take pictures or video to document the extent of the damage.
  • Avoid throwing anything out right way (with the exception of perishable food) until you meet with the insurance adjuster. They will help determine what can be discarded.
  • Make temporary inexpensive repairs to prevent further damage to your property. For example, board up broken windows or throw a tarp over a leaky roof. Otherwise, additional damage may not be covered by your policy. Keep receipts for materials you buy, so you can be reimbursed.

Filing a claim

  • Contact your insurance company immediately to report the loss and follow the instructions given to you by claims personnel.
  • Keep your insurance policy and claim number handy. This will help the claims process go faster.
  • Take notes. Keep a log of who you spoke to and when: include a summary of the conversation and ask questions if you don’t understand the instructions.
  • Make a home inventory. If you don’t already have a home inventory, make a list of as many items as you can remember.
  • Wait for the company’s adjuster to arrive. Do not call anyone to repair or replace your loss without first getting instructions from your company’s adjuster. Your insurer’s visual inspection of your loss may be necessary before repairs are made. Do not throw away damaged property until your company’s adjuster advises you it is all right to do so. If your home is damaged, make only temporary repairs until a claims adjuster looks at the damage.

Working with the Insurance Company adjuster

A company adjuster will inspect your home to assess the initial damage. Be sure to ask the adjuster for
 
  • Proper identification
  • A business card identifying their phone number and address
  • Information about what you are required to do next
  • Information about what the company will be doing next 
  • Ask if you are expected to get estimates for repairs or if the company will be doing that on your behalf.
  • Time estimate of how long the adjuster expects the claim settlement process to last
  • Additional living expenses. If you are unable to stay in your home, the adjuster may issue an advance payment for additional living expenses. Cashing the check will not have any effect on your final insurance settlement. However, you should keep receipts for all additional expenses you incur because your home is uninhabitable.
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