It’s hurricane season down here on the Gulf Coast, and as we anticipate strong storms, many homeowners are preparing for the worst. This weekend, Tropical Storm Barry, the first major storm of the season, will make landfall. It is likely that this storm will produce strong winds capable of damaging your property directly and by carrying heavy debris. Flooding and storm surges are anticipated. To prepare yourself for the possibility of filing an insurance claim, you should take the following actions:
- Take photographs of your home from every angle that you can, including the roof, if safely possible;
- Take photographs of any additional structures, including sheds, fences, detached garages, etc.;
- Take an inventory of the contents of your home and take all photos of all items—not just items that you believe are very valuable;
In the event of catastrophic loss, the smaller things may account for a more sizeable portion of your loss than you imagine;
- Preserve all vital records by scanning or photographing them and storing the originals in a way that they will be protected;
- It is a good idea to keep a copy of vital documents with your attorney or in a safety deposit box;
- Take note of your insurance policies, homeowner’s, flood, etc., and familiarize yourself with the coverages and exclusions therein;
- In the event that evacuation is necessary, be sure to keep receipts of all of your expenses, including, but not limited to travel costs, fuel costs, hotel and/or lodging costs, and for any other costs that you are pertinent to your evacuation, or costs that you would not have otherwise incurred if you had not evacuated;
- After the danger has passed, again photograph your home, additional structures, and contents;
- You should report any damages to your insurer(s) as soon as possible after your loss;
- Be aware that you have the right to have a contractor or other expert evaluate any damages to value them according to the current local market;
- If your insurer(s) make a payment on your claim, that does not necessarily mean that you cannot pursue additional funds;
SVHC is available to help you in this troubling time, even if it is just to talk you through the claims procedure.
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