Homeowners throughout West Michigan are trying to repair the damage brought by last week's severe weather.

Dolores Gaines is one of the many dealing with tree damage that affected not only her property, but her neighbors as well. She's lived in her Heritage Hill home since 1962, and it has been decades since she last filed a claim.

It was easier to file the claim back then as her and her now late husband were both working at the time. Now, things are bit harder. She's retired and her sole source of income is social security and a teacher pension.

She has not begun filing a claim, but she said fears how much all the damage will cost and if she can afford it.

13 On Your Side sat down with an agent to figure out the best practices for filing a claim.

Here are some tips from State Farm Agent Sara Ocampo Rolon on how to get the insurance claim process started:

  • First, call your agent (their name should be on your declaration paperwork,etc.) and find out your deductible amount for this type of damage
  • Once a claim is filed, an adjuster will be in touch about making a home visit to examine the damage
  • Take photo documentation of the damage in between the incident and the adjuster visit
  • If you make any temporary repairs prior to the adjuster visit, be sure to save those receipts
  • If you choose to pay out of pocket and not file a claim, insurance agents ask that you still report the reparations made to your home
  • Most insurance companies have a time restriction, so begin the process as soon as possible

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