By Steven David Venook
Congratulations! All your family and friends survived Hurricane Katrina, with no personal injuries. But your home, condominium, or commercial building may not have been so lucky. Now comes the rebuilding of your life and property. The first thing you do is contact your insurance agent and notify them of your claim. They tell you to mitigate any additional damage and you will be contacted by their insurance adjuster.
Let’s find out if you were really prepared for your Hurricane Claim process?
First, have you purchased a Hurricane Insurance policy? This may or may not be part of your homeowner’s coverage? The Hurricane policy or Wind coverage may be a separate policy as is your flood policy.
Good, you have Hurricane coverage, have you reviewed your deductible? The Hurricane deductible ranges from 2% to 10% on the average of your building/dwelling coverage. For example, let’s say you have a $200,000 in dwelling coverage and your Hurricane deductible is 2%, your hurricane deductible is $4,000.00. For illustration purposes you have $5,000 in building damages, you will receive $1,000.00 net on your claim. This assumes they don’t take depreciation on your damages, and unless your home is brand new, there will be depreciation applied. Remember it could be worse; you could have no insurance or a ten percent deductible. Now is the time to review your policy, you can’t make any changes when a hurricane is heading your way.
Second, have you documented your damaged items? You ask how I can document my real and personal property, as my house and its contents are now scattered across my neighborhood. This is where hurricane preparedness comes in to play, as now it might be too late to prove all your damages. Remember your insurance company requires per the conditions section of your policy for you to prove your damages.
Do you have receipts for all of your damaged items? Nobody keeps receipts right, your insurance company wants receipts or they are not going to pay for that 52″ TV! Well you had receipts but they blew away or got wet, you are making your insurance company happy, because all the excuses in the world will not prove your claim. Here is a simple cost effective solution, take a camera or video camera and go in to each room and take a picture of each wall, you can even record a description as you do your walk through your house. Did you set your date menu on your camera? Did you take pictures of all sides of the exterior of your home too? Now that you have pictures, have you made a couple sets of prints or copies of the video? Did you put your pictures somewhere safe? Such as a safe deposit box outside your home, or maybe send them to a relative out of state. Wow, what a hassle! I don’t want to do this! It’s your money!
Remember your policy puts the burden of proof on you to prove your claim of damages, the bigger your claim for damages the more you need to hire Advocate Claim Service to help you.
Remember … the bigger the claim the more you need the advocacy of a licensed Public Adjuster.