- If you suffer property loss in your home or vehicle, contact your agent or insurance company as soon as possible to arrange a visit from an adjuster.
- Before doing any repairs to your house, photograph and make a list of the damage. Photograph or video the damaged area. Pull out any inventory lists you keep of your home’s contents.
- Protect your home from further damage by making temporary repairs until your insurance company is able to advise you. Save any receipts for materials purchased for repairs. Do not throw away damaged property until the claims adjuster advises you to do so.
- Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs. If you do make permanent repairs before the adjuster has seen the damage, your claim could be denied.
- Most damage resulting from windstorm and fallen trees is covered by your homeowner’s policy. Check with your agent or company before calling the tree removal service as removal costs may also be covered. Also, you may find yourself responsible if one of your trees has fallen on a neighbor’s property. Again, check with your agent or company.
- Your policy may also cover your accommodations if you cannot return to your house. There may be an allowance for offsite housing until your home is repaired. Keep all your bills and payments made for offsite housing.
- If your claim is denied, review the terms of your policy for what is or is not covered. You may also file an appeal to your insurance company’s claim manager. If questions remain, feel free to contact the Insurance Department.
- Be Careful – there are a lot of good people and repair firms out there who want to help you and can. But there are others who may take advantage when you are most in need. Guard yourself against home repair con artists. Make sure you are working with a credible firm. Investigate the performance of any firm you are thinking of hiring. Consult the Better Business Bureau. Examine your options, get more than one estimate for your loss, ask for and check references, and, most importantly, get everything in writing.
It’s Important to Remember That Flooding Generally is Not Covered in a Homeowner’s Policy. Here Are Some Tips to Consider:
- If you are moving into a new home, apartment or business location, make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Your bank, local officials or insurance representative can inform you if your location is at risk of flooding.
- Flood insurance is excluded under homeowners and renters policies, but it is covered under the comprehensive section of standard automobile insurance policies and some coverage is available for floods under special commercial insurance policies.
- Flood insurance for homeowners, renters and businesses is administered through the federal government and can be purchased from an insurance agent or company under contract with the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA), part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Flood insurance is only available where the local government has adopted adequate flood plain management regulations under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Most communities participate in the program.
- Flood insurance covers direct physical losses from floods and losses resulting from flood-related erosion caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels and accompanied by a severe storm, flash flood, abnormal tide surge or a similar situation which results in flooding. Flood insurance also may cover mudslides.
- Coverage for the structure and contents of the home are sold separately. Buildings are covered for replacement cost but content coverage is available on an actual cash value basis only.
- Maintain a supply of emergency materials: plywood, plastic sheeting, nails, hammer, shovels, sandbags, flashlight, batteries, battery-operated radio, first aid kit, medication, sturdy shoes, emergency food and water, cash and credit cards.
- Install a system to prevent floodwater from backing up in sewer drains.
- Locate switches to turn off gas, electricity and water.
- Make an inventory of your possessions and store it off the premises. If your personal belongings are damaged, this list will help facilitate the claim filing process.
Can You Name Everything in Your Home?
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NAIC IPhone Application to Record Inventory
Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind.
Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. In certain circumstances the safest areas may not be your home but within your community.
Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet (Rally Points), including a child’s school, a neighbor or a public place.
Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact; so all your family members have a single point of contact. Have at least 2 ways of contact; e-mail, phone, etc.
Have an Emergency Pet Plan if you need to evacuate.
Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
Check your insurance coverage - flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a Disaster Supply Kit.
Use a NOAA Weather Radio. Remember to replace its battery every 6 months, as you do with your smoke detectors.
Take First Aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes.
Severe weather can strike at any time. But don’t worry; there are steps you can do to help prepare your property for a disaster:
- Create an inventory of your personal property, including all model names and serial numbers.
- Do not overlook items you use seasonally or infrequently and store in out-of-the-way places: special china and silverware, holiday decorations, summer and winter sports equipment, carpentry tools, and baby-care furnishings.
- Keep sales receipts and photograph or videotape each room.
- Store the inventory information off the premises, such as with a relative or in a safe deposit box.
- Keep the telephone numbers of your insurance agent, your insurance company’s local claims office, and its home office readily at hand.
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