YAZOO CITY, MS (WLBT) - Debris removal is underway and Yazoo City residents for the most part have salvaged what they can to start over.
Now they are turning to their insurance companies to help make that happen.
Three days after the twister struck Richard Pickens filed his insurance claim with State Farm after his Center Ridge Road home felt the brunt of Saturday's deadly tornado.
"My home received extensive damage, roof, walls, windows. Our camper was on top of my daughter's car in the front yard, and the house just looked a mess," said Pickens.
State Farm has filed nearly 500 claims statewide.
At their drive thru mobile claims center on the Sunflower parking lot on Highway 49, claims reps are already doing assessments, reviewing contractor estimates and writing checks.
"Here's a check that maybe would cover you for the next week to find you a place to live because your home is uninhabitable and to buy clothes with because you don't have any clothes and toilet articles and just the necessities of life that all of a sudden are gone," said State Farm Insurance spokesman David Majors."
Allstate Insurance spokesperson Allison Hatcher said now the time to focus is on choosing a reputable, licensed and bonded contractor with liability insurance.
One who comes highly recommended.
Experts said paying before the work is completed is usually not wise.
And she said you should never turn your insurance check over to the contractor.
"If someone is asking you for more than 20% of the estimate that's too much that's usually a red flag," said Allison Hatcher.
The Mississippi Insurance Commission has set up a Consumer Assistance center near the insurance claims centers.
Commissioner Mike Chaney has toured the damaged areas and estimates the average loss at $25,000 to $30,000.00.
Hurricane Katrina's average loss he said was $15,000.00
"Yazoo county will probably have 80-90% of their people will be covered by insurance, and I think the opposite will be true in Holmes county, 80-90% will not have insurance and my goal is to bring some relief to those people as best we can," said Chaney.
The insurance commissioner recommends that you take pictures of your damage with a disposable camera or cell phone and keep receipts of temporary purchases for your insurance company.
Chaney said Allstate has filed over 100 claims so far.
With more rain expected this week, insurance companies recommend that you make temporary repairs and purchase tarps to cover roofs and other exposed areas of your home.
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