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Steps to take if your home or car was damaged during severe storms

Posted at 6:39 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 19:39:53-04

MILWAUKEE — Hundreds if not thousands of people in the Milwaukee area are dealing with car or home damage after Tuesday night’s storms.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, thunder and lightning storms are the most common natural hazard in Wisconsin, causing nearly $57 million in property losses each year.

After widespread damage, insurance experts say it could be months before repairs are complete.


Nancy Aldrich says her daughter came over for dinner at her Riverwest home Tuesday night, and she hasn’t left since a tree fell on her SUV.

"She's very devastated, she just bought the car,” Aldrich said. “After her deductible and paying off the balance of the car with her insurance, it's probably not going to leave her very much to purchase another one."

From totaled cars to damaged homes, you can’t even see Janice Flippin’s house on Milwaukee’s north side after a tree landed on it.


"I was looking out the window and I said, 'it's time to go,' I mean, run downstairs to the basement,” she recalled. “{My grandson} goes and looks out the front door and there was the tree."

Flippin says she’s unsure whether she wants to file an insurance claim because her home doesn’t have much visible damage. Jamie Loiacono with Acuity Insurance says no matter how it looks, it’s best to have your property inspected by your insurance company.

"You never know if there's some sort of hidden damage involved, whether it's with an automobile, the home itself, the roof, the siding, insulation,” he said.

After calling your insurance agent, Loiacono suggests making a list of damaged items, take pictures of them, and do not throw out any ruined property.

"The minute that the claim is reported, their insurance company should be immediately responding to the claim, setting up a time in which they could have an inspection, and also assisting the homeowner in any type of temporary repairs that need to be made in order to secure the property,” he said.

Angela Marion is the executive director of Community Insurance Information Center, an organization that helps people in the Milwaukee area find insurance and resolve any issues that arise with their insurance provider.

"The phone lines are jammed with all the insurance companies,” Marion said.

Marion says patience is paramount after significant storm damage in a metro area.

"It's going to take a while, so you could be looking up to 6 months in some cases from start to finish,” she said.

Marion says one thing people need to keep in mind is their deductible, which can range from $250 to $5,000.

"It just depends on what risk retention you have that is written on your policy, so if you have damages that are going to exceed your deductible, maybe by a couple hundred dollars, you may be best just to not file a claim,” she said.

If you file a claim with your insurance and it’s denied, do not give up there. You can file a complaint with the state for your policy to be reviewed and possibly find a resolution.

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