Hurricane Irma is on her way! Schools are closed, highway tolls are waived, water and gas is scarce and news commentators are (rightfully) focused on keeping the community safe. Pre-Hurricane preparations are seriously underway. But, are you ready for the aftermath of the storm? These are just a few quick tips to share to help you prepare for some of the things that may matter most if you sustain property or other damage as a result of the storm.
- Conduct a Pre-Hurricane Inventory and Inspection – Take a photo inventory of all of the personal possessions in your household. Do you really know how many plates you have? Did you really have 5 smart TVs? Go ahead, open up and cupboards, closets and cabinets and snap away. Upload and save your photos to an online storage site in case your phone is damaged. You will thank yourself for your foresight when the insurance company needs proof of your losses when you make a post-hurricane property damage claim.
- Locate a Copy of Your Homeowners/Renter’s Policy Before the Storm – Locate a copy of your insurance policy before the storm. Review your policy to better understand what types of damage will be covered under your policy and to identify what, if any, deductible you might have to satisfy before your policy coverage kicks in. Save a copy of your policy to an online storage site and store the claims department’s number in your phone or another safe place.
- Contact your Insurance Company Promptly to Report the Claim—The first step in recovering for your loss is to report your claim to the insurance company. The sooner it is reported, the sooner you will be on your way to recovery.
- Document your Losses – Just as you should do before the storm, make sure you document the damages to your property and home with pictures and videos after the storm. Your insurance claim will be smoother if you are able to provide concrete proof of your losses. Make sure you keep the receipts for all expenses you incur immediately after the storm. For example, you may expend money to make emergency repairs to your home or may expend money for lodging and meals after the storm.
- Keep a Claim Diary – Start a paper or electronic notebook to keep contact information of all people (adjusters, contractors, inspectors, etc.) that have played a role in your claim. Document conversations, representations and promises that are made so that you have a good record of every step of your claim. The insurance company will be keeping a detailed log and so should you.
And, as always, should you need assistance with any post-hurricane insurance issue, please give us a call. We may be able to help.