After Disaster Strikes
So you have been hit by a natural disaster and want to file an insurance claim. How do you handle the claim? First things first you must contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Then you will want to provide them with as much information as possible about the damage to your property. If the nature of the damage was caused by a natural disaster, most insurance companies might list procedures for filing via a local newspaper or television or radio
In the event that your companies representatives are not available on the scene to help you, you may want to call the company direct line or better still obtain their customer service number from the Department of Insurance. Provide all numbers through which you can be reached especially if your home is uninhabitable.
Now that the damage has occurred it is important to take charge of your situation. You must understand all your rights and responsibilities as listed by the policy. Know what you deductibles are and what part of the policy will be covered by your insurance. If you are confused about anything, don’t worry just all your insurance representative for clarification. Some customers lose their policy in the damage, but that can easily be rectified verifying some information over the phone or in person
You can choose to have some temporary repairs done to prevent your property from further damage. Temporary repairs like boarding up windows and patching holes in walls or roofs, should be done as soon as possible even if you have not yet seen your insurance representative. To initiate the process of temporary repairs, you must do the following:
- Contact your insurance company if you would need emergency funding to help make temporary repairs.
- take photographs to show the before and after pictures of the condition of the house before you began repairs.
- It is your responsibility to guard against the possibility of further damages. This may include contacting your utility providers (i.e. water, gas, electric) to have utilities discontinued if at all necessary.
Keep all bills and receipts from repairs.
- Keep track of all your receipt from materials done for repairs until the company representative has validated and examined them.
- Board up windows and holes in the walls or roof to prevent further damage.
- Cover all furnishings with heavy-duty plastic or tarps, or store elsewhere.
- Be sure to get written agreement from your insurance adjuster before you contract for any repairs.
- Be cautious when signing repair contracts. Deal with only local, reputable contractors. Contact the Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General’s Office to check on a contractor’s reputation. Be sure to discuss payment terms before you signing any contract.