Frequently Asked Questions Following a Hurricane
Every situation is different and every claim evaluated to its individual circumstances.
This information is provided as a general resource.
- When it is safe to do so, make (or have a contractor make) temporary repairs to prevent further damage to your home or property.
- Save receipts if you purchase items such as tarps, plywood or other supplies to make repairs.
- Take photos/videos of damage for claim documentation.
- To get the claims process started, you can file your claim online, call 1-800-SFCLAIM (800-732-5246) or contact your State Farm agent.
- After a claim has been filed, a State Farm claims specialist will contact you to discuss the extent of damage and review your policy coverages.
- The complexity and collaboration needed to investigate a claim can sometimes take time, and is necessary for a proper evaluation of your claim.
- If at any time during the claims process, you have questions, do not hesitate to ask your claims specialist. We know this can be a difficult and confusing time. We are here to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Unless the damage is excluded in the policy, a typical homeowners policy provides coverage for accidental direct physical loss to your dwelling and may also provide coverage for personal property damage from a hurricane. Flood damage is not covered.
- Flooding is not covered under homeowners policies. It is a separate coverage that can be purchased through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program. State Farm agents enrolled in the NFIP Direct Program are able to write and service flood insurance coverage directly through the federal government program. Homeowners who have flood coverage and have experienced flood damage should report their claim to their flood insurance carrier so that damages can be assessed. To contact NFIP: 1-888-379-9531.
- Backup Sewer and Drain: If you have water damage, contact your agent for guidance. Damage from water that enters a home through a sewer, drain, or sump pump is excluded from a homeowners’ policy but coverage may be added to your policy for an additional premium. Homeowners should contact their agent for more information.
- Policyholders are always encouraged to file a claim should they think they have damage from the hurricane. Coverage and any possible exclusions are then determined during the claims process.
- The insurance industry uses hurricane deductibles to account for increased exposure in areas prone to major storm events such as hurricanes.
- State Farm applies hurricane deductibles when a named storm has been declared by the National Weather Service (NWS).
- We encourage State Farm policyholders to review their insurance policy language for the specific provisions related to hurricane deductibles and contact their State Farm agent if they have questions.
- When does the hurricane deductible apply? Each state differs on when the hurricane deductible will apply. Generally, it will apply when a named storm has been declared by the National Weather Service (NWS). Other conditions apply and are outlined in the policy.
- Hurricane deductibles vary. If a policy includes one, State Farm policyholders can find it in their policy documents, or they can contact their State Farm agent.
- If a windstorm causes a tree to fall but it does not damage your covered real property (such as your house, fence, carport or garage), the homeowners policy does not cover tree debris removal.
- If a windstorm causes a tree to fall and it damages your covered real property, then coverage is provided to remove the tree from the house, fence, carport or garage to perform repairs to that property. State Farm will also provide up to $500.00 to remove the tree debris from the residence premises.
- When hiring a tree removal company you should make sure they are licensed and bonded.
- Also make sure tarping (if appropriate) is included in their work (or another contractor) so that once the tree is removed from the structure, additional damage does not occur through an open/exposed roof. Water mitigation/removal is the next step to reduce the damage caused by water that may have entered your house through the exposed areas.
- Before signing any contracts, talk with your State Farm claim specialist for guidance following a loss.
- The State Farm team is here to help. Our claims operation includes a dedicated, mobile workforce, specially trained to handle catastrophe claims. These teams are prepared to go anywhere in the country within hours of being notified. They provide claim service, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
- State Farm homeowners insurance may provide coverage, subject to policy terms and limits, to remove debris from the residence premises. The responsibility to hire someone to clear your land rests with you. We recommend you contact your claim specialist, as they will be able to determine if coverage applies and how much State Farm will pay. Make sure any removal company is licensed and bonded.
- If covered damage is so extensive that your residence is uninhabitable, then Additional Living Expenses (ALE) may be available. Generally, ALE reimburses you for increased living expenses you incur as a result of your home being uninhabitable and is subject to the deductible and the terms and conditions of the policy. ALE is available to you while your home is uninhabitable and being repaired, replaced or up to 24 months, whichever is shorter, and as otherwise indicated in your specific policy.
- For personal contents (the Coverage B portion of your policy), typically, you are initially paid actual cash value (replacement cost minus depreciation). Then, when you actually replace the damaged personal contents, you will receive the difference as a replacement cost benefit. This assumes the replacements occur within the designated time frame of the contract.
- Your claim specialist is available to assist customers with completing the inventory. Customers who do not need a face-to-face meeting can provide their inventory to their claim handler for processing or submit them electronically directly to their claim file 24/7.
- Customers do not have to wait until their entire inventory is completed to submit to their claim. We encourage submitting inventories by rooms to make it easier for our customers to compile.
- State Farm recommends grouping items of similar quality/price/age: For Example: clothing-jeans-20 pair/shirts-30/etc, cleaning supplies, over-the-counter medication/kitchen utensils as this can help expedite the process. Unusual, specialty or high cost items should be listed individually.
- Again, if you need any assistance with the contents inventory process, all you have to do is ask your claim specialist for help.
An insurance policy is a contract. You pay for coverage for a specified amount of time defined as the policy period (for example six months or a year). The contract protects you for that specified amount of time and for losses you incur under that contract.
Coverage is not cumulative year to year, meaning your premiums do not add up like a savings account to be used when there is a claim.
Disasters like these are a reminder that our business is highly volatile. Despite that volatility, our long history of financial strength is what allows us to keep the commitments we have made to our customers, helping to remove some of the uncertainty from their lives during times of loss.
We have faced countless significant weather and other major disasters over our 95-year history, and we stand ready for more as we help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams.
- Rates are determined based on our anticipated need to pay future claims, not to make up for past losses. It is important to note many factors are considered when underwriting and pricing a homeowners insurance policy because each customer’s circumstances are unique.
- We encourage all of our customers to have a conversation with their agent to make sure they are comfortable with the appropriate coverage for their unique situations, including reviewing discounts available to them that could decrease their premiums.