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State Farm Helps File Insurance Claims Following Storms

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(Duration: 1:04)

A clean up truck hauls away broken tree branches in Gifford, Ill. on Nov. 18, 2013.

A clean up truck hauls away broken tree branches in Gifford, Ill. on Nov. 18, 2013. (Sean Powers/WILL)

As cleanup continues across the state following this week’s devastating tornados, insurance agents are busy helping people file claims. On Thursday, State Farm Insurance representatives were in Gifford, where an EF3 tornado destroyed part of the town.

Brandy and Eric Siminick met with several State Farm reps in their damaged home. They handed the Siminicks a check to hold them over for a while. Eric Siminick  said he and his wife are looking for a place to relocate.

“We’re staying at a friend’s house and we’re going to find a place,” he said. “I think we found one out in the country.”

Siminick said he has met with a contractor to go over property damage. Kelly Dale, a claims rep with State Farm, told him it is important to meet with someone he can trust.

Dale drove around Gifford surveying damage. He said he does not know how long it will take to process claims.

“It’s going to be a long process,” he said. “It’s going to be very tedious. Really when it comes down to it, you just try to simplify from day one and let people know first thing we need to do is get your contractor out to determine what it’s going to cost to get the demolition done, get the repair estimates in, and go from there.”

Dale said State Farm has so far received around 3,700 storm-related homeowner’s claims and 1,500 to 1,700 auto claims across the state. He said a large percentage of the property claims from Sunday’s storms are for total losses.  

Meanwhile, Vann Parkin with Country Financial insurance based in Champaign said his company received more than 2,900 claims related to storms.  Of those property claims, he said 420 came from Champaign County. 

Officials on Thursday from the Federal Emergency Management Agency also surveyed the damage in Gifford. So far, 15 counties in the state, including Champaign, Douglas, and Vermilion, have been declared disaster areas by Gov. Pat Quinn. Quinn wants the federal government to provide Illinois with some assistance, but FEMA’s Nate Custer said there are a lot of factors that will be considered before that can happen.

 “We’re looking at the extent of the damage, the effect on people, how many homes were destroyed, how many have had major damage, whether there’s been a history of previous disasters in recent years,” Custer explained. “Here there’s a number of factors that go into this. A major one is the level of insurance coverage.”