Do I Need to File a Claim for Hurricane Damage?
The 2018 hurricane season is predicted to be busy and active. Scientific models are predicting more than average hurricanes and tropical storms this season.
Your main goal before a hurricane occurs should be to reduce the risk of damage from winds and flooding. This can include strengthening your building’s structure—including doors, windows, walls, and roof—and removing or securing all objects, as well as clearing the outside areas around the building. You can implement measures to protect against potential flooding include waterproofing basements and elevating critical utilities (e.g., electrical panels and heating systems). In flood-prone areas, consider elevating the entire structure.
Despite the best precautions, your property can be damaged by a hurricane, tornado, or hailstorm.
What is the Best Way to File a Hurricane Damage Claim?
If you must file a claim, follow these 8 tips for fast, efficient handling of the claim:
1. Assess the damage to best of your ability and prepare to give an accurate description of the amount and type of damage.
2. Notify Fidella Insurance Agency as soon as you can. The insurance contract requires you to notify your insurance carrier as soon as possible after a loss. Make sure to give us your current contact information so that an adjuster can be deployed quickly.
3. Make temporary repairs are necessary to prevent further damage, theft, and vandalism. Mitigating the damage is probably a condition of your coverage. DO NOT make permanent repairs to your damaged property unless the adjuster has reviewed your claim and given you permission to repair your property.
4. Photograph. Photograph. Photograph your damaged areas to prior to making temporary repairs if possible. This documentation will help you with your claim.
5. Try to get 1-2 detailed, written estimates for permanent repairs from a reliable contractor and give to the adjuster. Check with the BBB before getting any estimates so you are using only reputable contractors and restorers. It is a good idea to have a list of reputable companies BEFORE a storm.
6. DO NOT sign any contract with discussing it with your insurance company or adjuster. Remember that your insurance company is NOT bound by the contracts you sign.
7. Prepare an inventory of all damaged or destroyed property. Be sure to keep a copy for your record. Do not discard any items before the adjuster has time to inspect them.
8. Keep ALL receipts and invoices for EVERY expense that you incur, (including tarps, boards, cleaning supplies etc.). Make copies of all papers, receipts, invoices etc. and store them in a safe place.
Be wary of unlicensed or unscrupulous persons who may pose as adjusters or contractors. Public adjusters, in particular, may pose a problem since they don’t work for any company. Unlicensed public adjusters have not demonstrated their competency to adjust claims nor have then posted the required surety bond. If you contract with a public adjuster, they are authorizing the claim check to be made payable to both themselves or a mortgagee and the adjuster.
Before the Hurricane: Emergency Hurricane Preparation.
After the Hurricane: Flood and Mold Cleanup Hazards.