In our region of the world, the weather can by rather unpredictable in the spring. In recent years, large damaging spring storms have left many speechless and wondering what to do. Here are some tips on what to expect if your area is exposed to a nasty storm:
Residents evacuated from their homes should contact their insurance agents or companies immediately and let them know where they can be reached. As adjusters are allowed into impacted areas, they will want to go in with their policyholders to access the extent of the damage. In the event of a catastrophe situation, many insurance companies set up 24-hour emergency hotlines.
Contact your agent or company to see if you qualify for additional living expenses while you are out of your home. Some companies will open special claims centers to assist their policyholders during this time of need.
Out-of-pocket expenses during a mandatory evacuation are reimbursable under most standard homeowner policies.
Be prepared to give your agent or insurance representative a description of your damage. Your agent will report the loss immediately to your insurance company or a qualified adjuster who will contact you as soon as possible to inspect the damage. Again, be sure to give your agent a number where you can be reached.
Take photos of the damaged areas. These will help with your claims process and will assist the adjuster in the investigation.
Prepare a detailed inventory of all damaged or destroyed personal property. Be sure to make two copies-one for yourself and one for the adjuster. Your list should be as complete as possible, including a description of the items, dates of purchase or approximate age, cost at time of purchase and estimated replacement cost.
Make whatever temporary repairs you can. Cover broken windows, damaged roofs and walls to prevent further destruction. Save receipts for supplies and materials you purchase. Your company will reimburse you for reasonable expenses in making temporary repairs.
Secure a detailed estimate for permanent repairs to your home from a reputable contractor and give it to the adjuster. The estimate should contain the proposed repairs, repair costs and replacement prices.
Serious losses will be given priority. If your home has been destroyed or seriously damaged, your agent will do everything possible to ensure that you are given priority.
Do you know what to do in the event of a disaster? Are you ready if a fire, hailstorm, or tornado strikes your home? It may not be fun to think about, but it never hurts to plan ahead – especially if you live in a disaster-prone area. Know where you should go, who you should notify, and what to bring.
Disasters can and will cause stress to families and individuals. FEMA’s Coping with Disaster page offers disaster survivors information regarding dealing with the emotional affects of the event. This page gives guidance related to recognizing the signs of and minimizing the impact of disaster-related stress. Please remember that reactions and risk response to disasters vary, and there are many different signs of disaster-related stress. Support during this time is important for all who experience a disaster, especially children, older adults, and vulnerable individuals.
Information from RMIIA: Catastrophe Facts & Statistics