We have weathered storms along the gulf coast since 1913, and are here to help you and your family recover from Hurricane Sally. If you have questions regarding what you should do to collect information and submit an insurance claim, our attorneys are ready to assist you with a free consultation. As business and property owners, we know well the importance of making thorough and aggressive claims to an insurance company. Now more than ever, Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon is right by your side.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO CONSIDER TO HELP AS YOU ARE FILING AN INSURANCE CLAIM:
Make sure that your property is secure and safe to prevent further damage or accidents.
You should document your losses and damages. Take a lot of pictures and videos before and during the inspection of the building, damaged personal property, cleanable items, structural damage, and the standing flood levels of water in the building.
You will want to keep your receipts for purchases made related to your property damage, or accommodation receipts for if you are forced to relocate due to the living conditions of your property. Without receipts, you will not be able to collect any Additional Living Expenses (ALE) during the time the house is uninhabitable.
Mitigate Your Loss
This is required by your policy that you must take efforts to prevent further avoidable damages after a loss. This helps preserve your evidence and stop any future damage from occurring. Things to do to help prevent further damage includes putting up tarps, removing wet drywall and carpeting to prevent mold, and boarding up areas of the property. Do not begin cleanup, repairs, or throw anything away until you notify your insurance company.
Contact Insurance Company & Obtain a Copy of Policy
Notify your insurer that you need to file a claim. If you do not have a copy of your insurance policy, ask for one. You will also want to ask how long it will take until you get a visit from an adjuster — the person who will inspect the damage and help you arrive at a settlement. Remember, check with your insurer before discarding damaged items and materials. The more information you have about your damaged possessions — a description of the item, approximate date of purchase and what it would cost to replace or repair — the faster your claim generally can be settled.
Understand Hurricane Deductibles
Most homeowners’ insurance comes with a hurricane deductible. It typically ranges from about 1% to 5%, depending on the specifics of your insurance contract. Ask your agent about your specific policy.
Keep a claim diary and log all conversations, notes, details, etc. of your damages for your insurance claim.
Estimates and Reports
Request copies of all estimates and reports from the insurance company adjuster.
Beware of Contractors
Only hire licensed contractors to do the work. Beware of signing a contract with an “assignment of benefits” (also referred to as AOB) clause which gives all the rights and proceeds of your insurance claim to the contractor. You are not forced to use the contractors your insurance company recommends either. It’s your property so you should control who does the repair and quality of work. If you need to contact a contractor, water mitigation, etc. let them know who your carrier is and let your agent know who you’re working with. DO NOT SIGN an “Assignment of Benefits” assigning rights of your policy to the contractor.
Do What’s Best
As a policyholder, you know your home/business and what is the best for a recovery. Don’t let the insurance company tell you what to do and treat you unfairly.
Most insurance companies do the right thing, but when they do not, we are here to help you. Our attorneys are available for a free consultation to help answer your questions relating to your insurance claims for your residential or commercial property. Call us today at 850.433.6581.