Enduring a hurricane can be a harrowing experience. These massive storms cause substantial damage to homes and businesses and may hurt or displace families. The process of recovery must begin eventually though, and that includes filing an insurance claim.
Those with a business or home damaged in a hurricane will need to file an insurance claim soon. What does that entail?
Collect all relevant information
An insurance carrier will need the below information to begin processing a claim. The more information one has, the more likely they will secure coverage.
- Locate the insurance policy: The insurance policy will outline all potential coverage and include information on the deductible, required procedures, and time limits. In Louisiana, claimants have one year to file a hurricane claim after sustaining damage.
- Inform insurance representative: Immediately notify the insurance company about the intent to file a claim. A representative will take the policy number and forward the claim to an insurance adjuster. Be careful during this conversation. Some adjusters may ask leading questions to escape liability for certain damages.
- Document the damage: Take photos and videos of all damage as soon as it is safe. This evidence will go a long way toward approving one’s claim. Note the value of all damaged or destroyed property and provide receipts if possible. Having a thorough and organized claim will help the adjuster significantly.
- Prevent further damage: This can be particularly difficult in the wake of a natural disaster, but property owners must try to prevent further harm to the property. Mold can be a big problem, so separating water-damaged items and cleaning up flooded rooms is vital. Inform the adjuster of these actions to mitigate surprises.
- Keep all records: Send e-mails, keep letters and record everything. All communication with contractors and insurance agents will be necessary to establish timelines and ensure proper procedures.
Everything is negotiable
A claims adjuster will attempt to save the insurance company as much money as possible. They may suggest contractors or appraisers they know will help them. Most claims will have dispute clauses or mediation options that grant a claimant greater control over the assessments. It may be necessary to secure the services of a lawyer experienced in hurricane damage claims to ensure comprehensive coverage.