IT’S HURRICANE SEASON
As of June 1, it’s hurricane season in the Atlantic. Those who live in the South and especially the coastal areas know the importance of preparing for major storms, while inland areas are aware that they are not immune from the effects.
Storm damage is largely unavoidable when you are in a hurricane’s strike zone. Knowing what to do after is extremely important and can make the difference in mitigating the damage and recuperating from the loss.
What To Do Immediately After A Claim
Take steps to protect yourself and your family. Promptly submit your claim via email or by phone. Protect the property from further damage. You have a duty to take reasonable steps to do so. If it is safe to do so, take photos of all damage before you start any repairs. This will make it easier for the adjuster and the insurance company to settle your claim promptly. Keep accurate records of all expenses, such as temporary repairs and additional living expenses. Itemize the damaged or stolen property, including the manufacturer, brand name, age, place of purchase and purchase price. Report burglary/theft claims to the appropriate authorities, so there is a police report on file. If you have a contractor making repairs before the claims adjuster gets to you, please make sure you have photos of ALL damages you are reporting as part of the claim. Without these photos, your claim may be denied.
Gather all pertinent information and make sure your Loss Notice is complete, including CLEARLY LEGIBLE CONTACT NUMBERS. (True story, left on our Voice Mail, “Hi Chris, this is Bob. I just wanted to let you know I had a wreck on Saturday afternoon. My car is driveable so I left it at home while Sally and I go to Colorado in the truck for a couple of weeks to see the grandkids. I’ll talk to you when I get back.“-names were changed to protect the innocent)
If there is more than one policy that could be impacted by the same loss (like a wind policy and an excluding wind policy), please include all policy numbers on the Loss Notice.
If the claim is from a major catastrophe, such as a hurricane, please make sure your contact number is operational and you are able to monitor that number.
Email is the most efficient method of reporting a claim. Email the Loss Notice directly to the insurance company or to us. Please advise us if you are reporting it directly to the insurance company. We do appreciate a copy for our records, please clearly identify it as a duplicate so we don’t try and notify the insurance company on your behalf. If it is available, get a claim number.
Mailing a hard copy of the Loss Notice slows down the assignment process, so please avoid mailing it. Please do not submit it twice, as that will cause a duplication of efforts. Please send us a duplicate that is clearly marked as a duplicate for our records.
If the policy excludes wind a copy of the accompanying Wind Policy Declaration Page must be attached with the Loss Notice.
Adjuster assignments are made by the carrier(occasionally by someone they designate).
Property Loss Notice can be found on the companies website or contact us for them.
Please be patient. During a major event, it may take longer than expected to get in contact with the insured to set up the initial claims inspection. During Hurricane Florence, there were claims in remote parts of the state that took 30 days from the date the claim was reported to get the first inspection. This underscores the importance of protecting your property from further damage and taking photos of the damage being reported.
Please do not put yourself in danger after the storm. Do not climb on roofs. Do not go near downed power lines. Do not go under damaged roofs. Avoid standing water. Please avoid ALL potentially dangerous situations. You can always ask your contractor to take the photos for you.
We can provide contact information for most major insurance companies even companies we do not represent. Feel free to hand out our contact information to other folks who may be having difficulty contacting their insurance company. We are glad to help our community.
Our office phone system is set up during major events to accept cell phone text messages or faxes. Our fax # is 770 924 8841. Text messages can go to our regular phone # 770 926 1495. Both systems are set up off-site so in the event that we were to suffer a loss, your texts or faxes would still be accessible and handled promptly.