Hurricane Damage Claims

The process of applying for claims due to sustained damage from a hurricane, depending upon your locale, can often be cumbersome.  As had been seen from the incident of Hurricane Katrina, which caused over $80 billion worth of damage, many insurance companies are often reluctant to allow many homeowners and businesses that have suffered serious damage to the extent of becoming destroyed, the opportunity to lay a claim that many policyholders feel that they’re obligated to.  As this relates to taking the necessary precautions in order to file a claim that an insurance buyer feels is inevitable damage that he or she might sustain during hurricane season, we have only to take a look at the local or national news to see that many people are taking collective action and are being advised as to what their best options are.  There are many different types of insurance that guarantees a claimant financial redress in order to repair or restructure a home due to a natural disaster.

And as it is the right and opportune time to be thinking about these things, we’ll begin with a quick overview over what sort of contingency plan you might want to have if you reside in a hurricane-prone area.  “Flood insurance” protects you against property loss due to flooding.  Since there are many states that are in the periphery of being deemed “flood prone”, many insurers in the US don’t provide it, leaving many property-owners the cost of repairing and restructuring their homes.  As a response to this, the federal government created the National Flood Insurance Program, which is often the last resort a claimant may have to seek redress for their damages.

According to Deborah L. Jacobs of Forbes Magazine, there are a variety of ways you can ease the burden of relying only upon yourself to not only assess the damages sustained to your property, but how the process of filing a damage claim after a hurricane in your area can be easier and more in your favor.

  1.  Do no harm.  In the hurry of repairing damages done to their property, many people who have undergone a hurricane in their area leave themselves susceptible to injury due to trying to make repairs to their homes, sometimes even resulting in death.  Never leave it to yourself to repair your home after it has sustained damage on that grand of a scale.  Instead call your local emergency department in your area.
  2. Contact your insurer.  Weather forecasters and meteorologists have given ample notice to insurance companies about helping customers with claims on both homeowners and auto insurance.  Try contacting your insurer online before you call their toll-free 800 number.  Chances are that they provide a lot of insightful information that can come of use to you.
  3. Document losses.  Take lots of pictures and notes that describe what happened to your home.  If phone lines are backed up due to a high volume of calls, it’ll refresh your memory when you finally do get through to a live person.  You’ll also be aware if your insurance company disputes any claims you have made whether a specific loss is covered.  Most homeowner policies don’t cover floods, and most of the damage sustained to a property is flood related, so be wary of that.
  4. Minimize damage.  For most people, this means that you’ve started the process of repairing damages to your home on your own.  This is also dependent on whether or not you might have lost electricity.
  5. Arrange for repairs.  Always use reputable and licensed people to fix your repairs.  According to Jacobs, the sequence of events is very important and it is advisable to let your insurance provider know that you’ve opted to make necessary repairs.  This also depends on whether it’s a repair that is time intensive and needs to happen right away.
  6. Keep receipts.  Most companies won’t require their policyholders to show what they initially paid for items that were damaged.  But what they will want to know is what they’ve spent from the loss.  So if your policy covers evacuation expenses such as travel, hotels and lodging, meals and clothing, keep detailed records to show what you’ve paid for on your own.  And since this is a sobering reminder not to splurge, they’re probably hoping that you’ll be reasonable.