With the summer months approaching, many homeowners in certain areas of the country need to begin thinking about hurricanes and the damage they can inflict on a home. It is important to know the steps to take immediately after a storm in the event you have damage. Taking these steps will help you get your claims paid more quickly so that you can get your home back to normal as soon as possible.
Make An Insurance Claim
One of the first things you should do as soon as it is safe to do so is make a claim with your homeowner's insurance. If you have a local branch in your town, chances are they will be open for those who need to make claims. The insurer will want a general description of the damage to the property. Depending on the level of destruction, they should be in touch with you within a few days of making your claim with the next steps you will need to take.
Visit With An Adjuster
Next, you will have an adjuster come out and look at the damage. He or she will determine the cause of the damage, be it wind or water damage, or a combination. This will highly determine how much you will get for your claim. For instance, if your damage is mostly water-related and you do not have a flood insurance policy, your payout could be significantly lower. You will be able to make an appeal if you feel as though flooding did not cause the bulk of your damage.
Document the Damage
Before any repairs are made, you should document the damage. Include photos and receipts (if you still have them) of the condition before the damage. Also document the damage in pictures. If the damage was caused by flooding, be sure to document how high the water rose in the home. You can do this by looking at the walls for watermarks and where they end. In addition, be sure to provide proof of damage to the home's electrical system and structural damage.
Once your property has been evaluated, the next step is to schedule the permanent repairs. It could take a long time to have someone come make repairs if the damage in your area is significant. When scheduling repairs, make certain that you are using a reputable contractor with solid references. Sadly, a disaster such as this will bring out those who are looking to make a fast buck through doing shoddy work. If you get a quote that is too good to be true, be cautious. You could end up paying twice as much for one repair to fix shoddy workmanship.