Hurricane Aftermath: How to Protect & Rebuild Property & Process Insurance Claims
Southwest Florida has been dramatically impacted by Hurricane Ian. You have questions. You may be asking, what is next and may be wondering what steps to take. Here are some best practices regarding how to protect and rebuild your property, and best practices regarding processing insurance claims.
1. Make sure you and your family are safe at all times.
2. When you are able, check areas of your home if you can safely do so. Use extreme caution. This includes interior and exterior of your property (and business), windows, doors, and view the roof from the land (We do not recommend getting on your roof!). Also, determine whether there has been any damage to vehicles, appliances, personal possessions, your yard and external furnishings and debris.
3. Document everything. Create a file folder or envelope of everything related to your damages. Take pictures and videos (as soon as you can safely do so) before you clean or make repairs. When you make repairs, take pictures of the repairs.
4. Make a list of all damages. If possible, note the year, model and serial numbers of damaged property.
5. Notify your Insurance Company Fast. Document what day and time you contacted your insurance company and who you spoke with. Make notes of topics discussed. Remember that anything you say can be used against you. Do not speculate as to how the damage occurred. Simply tell the truth and let them know that your property has sustained damage as a result of the hurricane. Request an adjuster assess the damage.
6. Protect your property. If you need a tarp or other action to stop further damage, take pictures and protect your property from further damage.
7. Collect Receipts and proof of purchases for all possessions. This may become an important part of your insurance claim.
8. Track all communications with your insurer. If you have multiple communications, document each call, e-mail, voicemail, and appointment. This includes date, time, name of representative, method of communication and details of each interaction.
9. Review your insurance policy. Review to determine your deductible, coverage limits and details of what is covered.
10. Obtain an estimate from your insurer. If you do not think the estimate is accurate, you can contact an attorney and may be able to have an independent evaluation of your property.
11. Clean Safely and beware of Mold.
12. Drink lots of clean water and take care of yourself. Do not overexert yourself especially if there is not air conditioning. Be cautious of drinking water if your county or city are under a “boil water notice”. Make sure your food and water supplies are safe.
13. Never use a portable generator inside your home.
14. Take care of your physical and mental health.
We pray that you and your family are safe during this time and we are praying for a smooth rebuild of Southwest Florida. If you run into any problems related to your insurance claim, feel free to contact us to see if we can help.