Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim After a Hurricane
My aunt and uncle have lived in Lafayette, Louisiana for more than fifty years. Throughout those decades, they have countlessly boarded-up their home and headed to stay with us in Texas until the storm passes and they are cleared to enter their neighborhood again.
Thankfully, every time that they have returned home after each storm has passed, they have been lucky to find their residential property safe and minimally damaged. Of course, they always seem to lose a handful of trees and roof shingles, but their hurricane cleanup experiences have been easy compared to others. Regardless, it always makes me think about what they would need to do should a hurricane cause damage to their house.
Having worked at BMS CAT for the past nine years, they are curious about our hurricane damage restoration services, flood restoration services, and how BMS CAT’s hurricane cleanup teams work with a homeowner and their insurance company after a hurricane.
4 Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim After a Hurricane
When it comes to filing a hurricane insurance claim, here is what I have experienced as best practices:
Contact Your Insurer First
Be sure you wait until the storm passes and your community officials tell you it is safe to access your property before you do anything. When you get the green-light, you can initially assess your damage. Your first call should be to your insurance agent. Your second call should be to water damage experts and a professional restoration company, like BMS CAT.
Properly Document After a Loss
Recovering successfully in the aftermath of a hurricane largely depends upon how effectively you document what was damaged or destroyed. It might be a good idea to start a binder to keep all your notes, receipts, correspondence records with your agent, etc. to stay organized.
Before removing any damaged items and starting the cleanup process, take the following steps:
- Work one room at a time: You may not know where to start, especially if there’s been substantial damage. Go room by room, taking pictures from different corners. Taking close-up photographs is also useful.
- Be mindful of heirlooms and antiques: Insurers often treat antiques and specialty items differently than big-box items and electronics.
- Make copies of your documents: The insurer will likely want documentation of the damage done. Most home inventory apps should have the functionality to print out what’s been cataloged.
Understanding How Your Policy Handles Repairs
From boarding-up to tarping your property, your insurance company will probably want to immediately implement repairs to prevent secondary damage from occurring. Be sure to document any of these fixes. If you had to pay for any of these supplies out-of-pocket, be sure to keep your receipts as well.
Depending on your policy, additional living expenses (rent, food, etc.) may be covered for a period while you’re waiting for your home to be livable again. Be sure to keep all the receipts for these expenses as well for reimbursement.
Keep Track of Receipts and Expenses
As you can gather, keeping track of expenses and receipts during the hurricane insurance claim is key. The vast majority of insurance companies will require some proof of ownership to complete the claims process. Therefore, if you cannot provide receipts, there may be a chance that your claim could be denied or that you won’t recuperate the costs back adequately.
Experts suggest that these are the most important categories of receipts to have available for any hurricane insurance claim:
- Valuable electronics
- Furniture and antiques
- Sporting or hobby equipment
- Any significant home improvements
They also outline a general rule of thumb: if an item costs more than you can afford to lose or replace, be sure to keep the receipt. It is also recommended that you hold on to your receipts until the claim is resolved and closed.
How Long Can the Hurricane Insurance Claim Process Take?
After a disaster like a hurricane, insurance companies can easily become overwhelmed – especially if the damage is vast. The interesting thing about hurricanes is that they don’t just cause damage in their direct path. Flooding, tornadoes, or other inclement weather can occur to areas inland because of the hurricane itself. That’s why contacting your insurance agent immediately is important. They might have a large book of customers that are submitting a claim for hurricane damage restoration services, flood restoration or other hurricane cleanup services. The quicker you can get on their radar, the faster you can start the claims process.
Recover Your Home after a Hurricane
By utilizing your insurance agent as your advocate and hurricane damage restoration expertise on our part as specialists in hurricane cleanup, we can form the perfect team to help you recover your residential property.
BMS CAT has been restoring calm in your time of need since 1948. Over the decades, we have helped homeowners recover after a hurricane, and restored communities.