The hurricane season is off to a ferocious start. Hurricane Florence has shown us that natural disasters are unpredictable, destructive, and produce far-reaching effects. Damages from Florence could exceed $22 billion . Florence and the 24 hr news crews are gone, leaving us to contend with the arduous tasks of cleaning, repairing, and rebuilding.
To help you get through this time, we’ve compiled this list of three things to do after a hurricane damaged your home.
1. Document the damage
Although your first instinct may be to start cleaning up, it is very important that you document all your damages first. Take plenty of photos that show exactly what your home has endured, as well as detailed written descriptions of the damage. At the same time, be sure to create an itemized list of everything that was damaged. This will make filing an insurance claim much easier. Whatever you do, do not throw away any damaged items until you have been given permission by your insurance adjuster.
Hopefully, you already had a home inventory list that was stored in a safe place. This, too, will help facilitate the claims process. If you do not, be sure to create one now for any future claims. Your list should include detailed descriptions and photos of your items, along with purchase receipts, if possible.
2. Secure your home from further damage.
After your photos have been taken, take to the time to protect your home from further destruction. This damage may be caused by additional bad weather or sadly by people looking to benefit from your tragedy. Steps you should take include placing high-quality plastic over broken windows and tarps over areas of the roof that have been partially or completely destroyed. It is important to prevent rain from getting in and making things even worse.
As hard as it may be, this is not the time to start making permanent repairs. You just want to be sure your home is safe until an insurance adjuster has been able to review the damages in person. This is also a good time to point out that you should only stay in your home if it is safe and secure. If not, you’ll need to find other lodging.
3. File an insurance claim.
After a natural disaster, many insurance companies will operate on a first-come, first serve basis when it comes to reviewing claims. As a result, you’ll want to file your insurance claim as quickly as possible. When contacting your insurance company, be sure you have enough information to describe the extent of the damages. Make them aware that you have photos and a list of the damages available. They may ask you to provide that information to facilitate the claims process. At some point, an insurance adjuster will come to your home to assess the damage and make arrangements for your payout.
Although it won’t be easy, remember to be patient during the aftermath of a hurricane. While it doesn’t seem possible now, eventually this will all be over.
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