Insurance claims: the aftermath of severe storms

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - When a tornado strikes, homeowners pray their home isn't in the path of the storm. But, what if the unfortunate happens?

Bruce Martin from Meyer and Rosenbaum Insurance, Inc. says if your home is damaged, the first step is to quickly call your insurance agent and file a claim.

"As quick as we know that someone has a problem, we can start helping them solve it. And so, obviously, if someone has a life changing problem they will contact us very quickly. But the people that have minor problems, they need to call as well because maybe there might be some help for them in their insurance policy," said Martin.

The next step is to begin rehab work, but experts are warning people to remain cautious. Scammers use this time to take advantage of people in need. Martin says make sure you hire licensed and reputable contractors before starting repairs.

You can call the Mississippi State Board of Contractors at 1-800-880-6161 to determine if a contractor is properly licensed.

"They should always deal with someone they know that's reputable and established. Meridian has a ton of long-term, very committed, very honest business people and you should always deal with someone that you know or someone else knows, that you make sure you get the value you get when you pay them," said Martin.

Martin says, unfortunately, some people who need help the most don't receive it. They don't have insurance and are left alone in the rubble. Martin says in a time of struggle, people need to band together.

"When people are struck by a tragedy and don't have a means to get their life back together, then our fellow man is hurting. And I think it's an opportunity for all of us in the business community and as a city as a whole to reach out and help those that find themselves," said Martin.

But he's sure this city is up for the task.

"Meridian's a very generous town and I think we'll step up to the challenge," said Martin.