- Never underestimate what we cannot control and don’t get complacent.
- Photograph the exteriors of your home to document pre-storm conditions.
- Tape your windows at a minimum and board your windows if the storm becomes a Category 1 or greater.
- Locate and make a copy of your insurance policy and declaration page.
- Above all, stay safe and cooperate with local and state guidelines.
Top 10 Tips for Making an Insurance Claim
- Call your insurance company as soon as the disaster hits your home. Waiting too long can result in denial of your claim. We can do this for you.
- They will ask you questions like what type of damage your home has and whether you need somewhere to live. Tell them what you can about the damage but do not commit to anything. After all, you do not know how bad the damage is until it can be properly inspected by a claims professional that DOES NOT work for the insurance company.
- Photograph the damages that you can see as soon as possible. Insurance companies love to claim that damage was preexisting. Any loss is a traumatic event and you want to be able to refresh yourself about what damages you saw.
- If you have roof damage, you may need to tarp your roof to prevent further damage. This is often a duty under your policy.
- Do not give a recorded statement or sit for an Examination Under Oath without your lawyer. These are often used to deny claims. You have nothing to hide, but they do this for a living and are very good at twisting your words after the fact.
- Insist on relocation if you need it. So many policyholders say they do not need living accommodations meanwhile dangerous mold may be growing inside your house. Do not put yourself or your family at risk.
- Do not accept the first offer (but cash the check!). You do not have to accept the amount of money they pay. You can cash the check as long as they do not represent that it is a settlement of your claim. Many insurance companies intentionally underpay claims.
- Do not believe the word “independent.” Over the next several weeks, hundreds of “independent adjusters” are going to start showing up at homes. They work for your insurance company. Many of them are poorly trained and inexperienced. Their job is to look out for the insurance company. Not you.
- Watch out for door knockers. Roofers and contractors are about to knock on your door and offer you a free inspection. They will tell you that they will negotiate with your insurance company free of charge, but they want to do the repair work. It is illegal for a contractor to negotiate with the insurance company. They are probably going to have you sign a document that signs over your insurance benefits to them. Be very careful. A reputable property casualty attorney will never show up at your house. These contractors only care about getting money for them. They will not inspect your contents and roofers, for example, will only care about the roof. What about the inside of your home? What about additional living expenses?
- Get a qualified property casualty attorney. They will advocate for you and will look out for your rights. In many cases, they can even get the insurance company to pay their attorneys’ fees. After a hurricane, every attorney magically becomes a property casualty attorney. Be sure to ask if this is the type of law they handle. You should be suspect of an attorney that does not do this type of work.
If your home or business has been damaged or destroyed after Hurricane Laura, contact us today for a no-obligation, free consultation.