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Hurricane Damage and Your Insurance Coverage
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
So you've survived the storm, your house is reasonably intact, and you've located most of your valuables. But there is damage to contend with, and your home isn't going to be in the same condition it once was for at least a few weeks. As if the damage wasn't enough, you now have to navigate the treacherous waters known as homeowners' insurance, something that will no doubt be only slightly less painful than the hurricane that just blew through and leveled your neighborhood.
Contact Your Insurance Company
First things first, contact your insurance company and let them know just how badly your property has been damaged. Insurance agencies typically prioritize their cases, and a more severely damaged home will normally take priority over those that are less adversely affected. They will need to have all of your contact information so that they can reach you at any time.
If you end up displaced from your home and in a hotel for an extended period, most insurance companies will cover these and other cost of living expenses. Many times, even restaurant meals and mileage may be covered.
If there are repairs that need to be made to your home quickly, go ahead and take care of them. Just make sure not to undertake any repair project that may be unsafe.
What to do in the Meantime
There is no such thing as too much documentation. Make notes of anything and everything that was damaged or destroyed as a result of the storm. Photographs or video records are valuable tools when it comes to making your case later on, and an inventory of damaged items with serial numbers and cost estimates can also be of help. Many insurance companies provide a master inventory packet to assist homeowners in organizing and accounting for all of their possessions.
Beware the post storm scam. In the wake of any storm, there will be scam artists posing as repair service providers going through neighborhoods preying on disaster victims. Do not be rushed or pressured into signing a contract with anyone. Their sole purpose is to part you from your money. Always check the background and validity of anyone who is soliciting your repair and restoration business. If they are reputable, they will have no problem with you doing this. If they are suspect, they will try to talk around it or push you into making a rapid decision. Too many people in these situations are desperate for repair work to be done and latch on to the first company that comes along.
If you are unhappy with the disposition of your claim, you can always go back and secure the help of a public adjuster to help maximize your results. They are usually paid from a percentage of your claim, but they can also be of invaluable service, making sure you are awarded everything you deserve in the wake of such a disaster.
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