INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) -- The Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI) protects people as they buy and use insurance products.
They say the first step to protecting your family and home in severe weather is to read your insurance policy.
Knowing exactly what is covered can help prepare for out-of-pocket expenses.
For example, if your home is damaged in severe weather and you need to stay in a hotel, you'll want to know if that hotel stay is covered.
The IDOI advises every policy holder to keep a detailed inventory of their belongings.
For more expensive items, it's worth noting brand names, model and serial numbers.
Keep the list in a fire proof box or download the MyHOME Scr.APP.book app by The National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
In the event you wake up to storm damage, the IDOI says it's normal to panic.
They advise not to clean up debris or make any permanent repairs until damages and losses have been documented and assessed by the insurance company.
After you file a claim, keep track of all conversations between you and the insurance provider.
It can help down the line in negotiating financial coverage disagreements.
IDOI also warns of storm chasers and home repair fraud.
"You'll want to be really weary of certain contractors that might be super aggressive or demand payment upfront. You're going to want to check references for your contractors and make sure that you get more than one bid," said Jenifer Groth, director of communications at the IDOI.
Groth says questions or concerns with how an insurance company is treating your claim should be addressed by filing a complaint with the IDOI.
It's important to remember flood insurance is typically not covered by homeowners or rental insurance.
Read more about how to get flood insurance here.