Hurricane Harvey has left parts of Texas with between 5 and 10 billion dollars of damages to homes and properties. Additionally, Irma is threatening to make a comparable impact across various states. Natural disasters like these often leave entire communities in a tailspin, and it can be confusing to know the next steps to recover and rebuild in the wake of devastation. The goal of this article is to guide and give practical steps to begin the process of filing an insurance claim for flood and home damages in light of a storm.
Practical Steps for Filing a Claim after a Natural Disaster:
- Contact your Insurance Agent as soon as possible. Ask your insurance agent what your next steps are. They can advise you on whether or not to file a claim, and how to begin. It is important to file your claims quickly as a large volume of claims following a hurricane slows down the process. When you file a claim, an insurance adjuster should come and visit your home to document damages and estimate a cost of repair. Ask your insurance agent when you can expect the adjuster to come (it could be a could days or it could be a few months). Adjusters begin by visiting the most heavily affected areas, so be sure to follow the next steps in the waiting time.
- Thoroughly document your losses and damages. In preparation for a visit from the adjuster, make a thorough & detailed list of damages to property and personal items. Document all parts of your home and property with pictures and video. Try to collect receipts on any items that you can and estimate the value of the items that you do not have receipts for. Additionally, keep receipts from any purchases made for immediate repairs, as these are often reimbursable. Under some policies, you can also be reimbursed for any travel arrangements such as hotel stays and transportation if you are unable to stay in your home, so keep those receipts as well.
- Do not throw away damaged items without checking with your insurance company. Many adjusters will need to see the items or damages for your claim report. If it is imperative that you dispose of something, make sure it is well documented with pictures and video.
- Take notes on your claim process. Start with making a list of all of the contacts you are working with. Whenever you speak with someone, be sure to take notes on your conversation. Document dates and times of communications as well. As soon as you get your claim number, write it down in the notebook as well.
- Be cautious against fraud. In high volume, high need circumstances- fraudulent contractors or repairmen will often go home to home offering services. Always be cautious when approached by one of these service men. Vet them well, ask for official documentation of their business, get a written quote and go through the process slowly. Another way to take precaution is by looking for help from a verified providers list through your insurance company. Those providers have already been vetted and deemed legitimate for you.
We are praying for the many affected by recent storms and hurricanes. At Henry Insurance Service, we are here to help you protect what matters. For more information about Home Owners and Flood insurance or Hurricane coverage in your policy- call us today at 225-927-0451.