Ala. Insurers Told to Provide Payment Grace Period After Storms

In the wake of the massive storms that have hit the South, insurance commissioners across the region are issuing advisories to insurers and policyholders on how to take the necessary steps to get back on their feet after being hit with catastrophic damages.

Alabama Insurance Commissioner Jim Ridling instructed coverage providers on Thursday to give consumers affected by the storms 30-day grace period on premium payments, since tornadoes that touched down on Wednesday have caused disruption of mail service and may cause “extended power outages.”

“Many Alabama consumers will have great difficulty paying premiums on time,” Ridling said in an announcement. He emphasized that this does not, however, erase policyholders’ financial obligation to their coverage providers.

A number of insurers are dispatching extra representatives to affected states in order to help handle the additional claims load.

Missouri regulators have advised consumers that insurers should send representatives to inspect their property and that these representatives should have proper identification. They advise residents to be aware that these representatives get paid by the insurers themselves, and should not ask for payment from the policyholder.

The Missouri advisory also tells residents to “get estimates from contractors or auto repair shops known to you or recommended by someone you trust. Be suspicious of solicitors who offer to do repairs for you.”

Missouri regulators announced on Thursday that state insurers had received more than 2,200 auto insurance claims from St. Louis residents filed since the April 22 tornado.

Alabaman consumers who file comprehensive auto claims following the storm should also compare auto insurance premiums now and at the time of renewal. If the policy was written after February 1 or renewed after April 1, insurers are not legally allowed to apply a premium surcharge “based solely on a claim arising from a catastrophe, natural disaster, acts of nature or weather-related causes.”

Residents are advise to contact their state insurance departments if they cannot resolve issues with their insurers.

About Matthew Morisset
Matthew Morisset is a proud alumnus of the University of Redlands, where he obtained a degree in English Literature. Utilizing his passion for analysis and writing, Matthew looks for important trends in the auto insurance industry and their implications for consumers and the market as a whole.

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