Following a natural disaster, filing an insurance claim caused by the storm can be equally draining and emotionally devastating. Here are some reminders about insurance policies that can help you navigate through this difficult situation.
There are six types of common insurance that you should be able to differentiate between: Flood insurance, Sewer Backup Coverage, Loss of Use Coverage, Debris Removal, Coverage for Other Structures, and Business Interruption Coverage.
Flood Insurance: Flooding or an excess amount of water or mud on dry land is not covered by a homeowners or renters insurance policy. Customers who have purchased a flood policy from the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) should always contact the agent or company that wrote their policy to begin the claims process.
Sewer Backup Coverage: Before trying to file a claim, ask your agent if an endorsement for sewer backup coverage was added to your policy. If it was, your losses may be covered if the water damage was caused directly through the sewer lines.
Loss of Use Coverage: This means that if your loss was caused by a covered incident, that you will be compensated and given extra coverage to cover additional living expenses if your home is not fit to live in.
Debris Removal: Usually, most policies don’t cover damage to outside landscaping, but many do have debris cleanup allowances. To make sure, you should check your policy and talk with your agent to see if your policy contains coverage.
Coverage for Other Structures: This includes other buildings that are connected to your home by a fence or utility line, but only if the loss was caused by a covered incident.
Business Interruption Coverage: When a large scale disaster hits, it can be days or even weeks before a business can re-open its doors. Business interruption coverage will cover any lost earnings due to the circumstances stated in your policy. This coverage will generally include a waiting period which serves as the deductible. Remember that you will have to file separate claims for each loss.
Once your home is safe after the disaster, it is on you to make sure the damage is not made worse because you didn’t take action. As part of your claim, the insurance firm will usually reimburse the expense of any temporary repairs, but only if the loss was caused by a covered incident. It is useful to take photos of the damage and if you remove any personal property from the premises, do not dispose of it until the adjuster has reviewed it for the claims process.
If the area that you reside in has experienced storm damage as a whole, it is likely that many other people are as well. That means that more time may go by before an adjuster makes it out to your property. A disaster response team that comes to your area can help you figure out what is covered and what isn’t, and can help you start your insurance claim.
When you file a claim after the damages, make a list of everything that has been damaged or even destroyed. This will make the claims process easier, and it will also help with your home inventory. If you don’t already have a home inventory, you should sit down with the other residents of your property and make the list room by room.
If you have undergone storm damage on your property, it is vital to contact a professional in the field of storm damage restoration.