A State Farm spokesman is offering advice for Southern Arizonans who want to file insurance claims over damage from Tuesday’s storms.

“The good news: A typical homeowner’s policy provides coverage for direct damage caused by wind and storms,” Victor Hugo Rodriguez, State Farm’s Arizona spokesman, said in a news release Wednesday.

For instance, he said, if a tree fell and caused damage to your home or any structure on your property, most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover the necessary cost to remove it from the damaged structure and lay it on the ground; or, to reestablish access to your home by removing the tree from a driveway. Coverage is also available to cut a tree up and haul it away once it is off the damaged structure; typically there is a $500 limit for this service, he said.

“We would like to encourage everyone impacted by this storm to contact their insurance agent to ask questions and report damage as soon as possible,” Rodriguez said. “Take the time now to review your insurance policies, ask questions and be thorough when hiring a contractor.”

Until a claim representative from your insurance company contacts you to arrange for an inspection of your damage, State Farm offers these tips:

  • Take photos of your damage before making any temporary or permanent repairs.
  • Only if it is safe to do so, make temporary repairs to remove fallen debris and cover any openings created by the storm.
  • If you have substantial damage, arrange for an estimate with a licensed, insured and bonded contractor. Contact your local homebuilders association or remodelers council for a directory of reputable contractors. Insist on a written contract that includes: contractor’s contact information, project timeline, payment schedule and permit requirements.
  • Save all receipts for expenses you obtain from hiring professionals or purchasing supplies to make temporary repairs as these apply toward your deductible.
  • “If you’re approached by a door-to-door contractor, understand that you do not have to make a decision to either file a claim or sign on the dotted line right then and there,” Rodriguez said.