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Recovery Steps after a Disaster
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
What makes disasters especially devastating to people is the trauma they experience from the suddenness of the occurrence. Oftentimes, it is very difficult to determine how to react after such an event has happened. Read on for a comprehensive guide on how to pick up the pieces after a disaster.
Report the Loss Immediately
Insurance is invaluable for those who have experienced problems in their property. Most polices require the immediate and timely reporting of what has happened. Contact the insurance company as soon as possible and give a description of the event. Indicate the policy number to facilitate the claim.
Take Steps for Protection
Do not carelessly enter a building or structure that has been exposed to flooding, earthquakes or other disasters. There may be hidden dangers still lurking around. If there are any doubts about its structural integrity, call the local government officials to have them declare the house as safe. Inspect the area to find out if any of the systems, such as the gas or power lines, have been damaged and report the findings to the appropriate agencies. If the home is safe, board up the windows and salvage items that are still useful.
Prepare a List for Claims
The insurance company would have to make a careful assessment of the damage sustained. Make an inventory of what is missing or broken to show it to the claim adjuster. Video and pictures may also be used to provide a better description. A good tip is to prepare the list room by room to help the owner remember items that are easily overlooked.
Fill Out Return Claim Forms
After a report has been filed to the insurance company, necessary claim forms are sent to the claimant. Fill these out and send them back as soon as possible to make sure that no delays are experienced. Do not be afraid to ask questions if there is something on the forms that is unclear. Some of the concepts that should be clear to the property owner are the exact coverage and the scope of the deductibles. The expected duration of the claiming process should also be known.
If the home is rendered useless, the insurance company will most likely send an advance payment that can be used to buy clothing and other necessities. This initial check is usually not the final payment. As more facts come in, the insurance company may issue more checks. For mortgaged properties, check if the repairs made to the structure can be charged also to the mortgage lender. Lenders often put the money in escrow and pay for the repairs as they are completed. In this case, it is important to contact the mortgage lender to discuss costs and choice of contractors.
Home Safety Considerations
The repairs of the home after a disaster should take into consideration improvements to prevent such an occurrence from happening again. Get in touch with the insurance company for plans that can be implemented. Another important aspect is the fulfillment of the applicable building code requirements.
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