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Filing An Insurance Claim Could Cost Homeowners Down The Road

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State Farm claims agent Bob Blume documents Wheeler's damaage (credit: CBS)

State Farm claims agent Bob Blume documents Wheeler’s damaage (credit: CBS)

CONTEST

LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – Many people are spending the weekend picking up debris in their yards from the wind and snow. But with so much damage, homeowners are wondering if they should file a claim with their insurance company.

Most homeowners’ policies have coverage for wind damage. But what they must decide is whether it is worth filing a claim because it could really cost them.

The wind slapped Christy Wheeler’s Littleton home hard this week. The siding was ripped off, a section of the backyard fence is gone, and shingles were torn from her roof. Wheeler wasted no time calling in an insurance claim.

“I know definitely this is going to cost more than our deductible,” Wheeler said.

Her deductible is $1,000.

By the next morning State Farm claims agent Bob Blume was at her home. He measured and documented the damage. The roof is likely the most expensive part of the claim, but the snow posed a problem.

“The roof cannot be properly inspected by an insurance adjuster until it’s clear and dry,” Blume said.

It’s not clear how much all of the damage will cost to fix. But Wheeler estimates just the roof will cost about $5,000 or $6,000.

When filing a homeowner’s insurance claim insurance expert Carole Walker offers caution.

“If someone is filing a lot of smaller claims over a short period of time, that could put them at risk for losing insurance, because what the insurance company is looking at is how high risk are you,” Walker said.

Walker says it’s not the amount of the claim, it’s the number of claims. The average homeowner files one claim every 8 years.

The Wheeler family will wait for the snow to melt and the roof to dry and the claims agent to return for a total damage estimate.

Those who have a $1,000 deductible and the total damage is $1,200, the homeowner pays $1,000 and the insurance company only pays $200.

“The difficulty is we’re in an economy where a couple hundred bucks is a lot,” 4 On Your Side Investigator Jodi Brooks said. “But consider; we still have hail season ahead of us, and two or three claims could cost you in homeowner’s insurance premiums, or losing your insurance. It’s not an easy decision.”

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