We all watched in horror as Hurricane Michael made landfall at Panama City and Mexico Beach. The devastation was overwhelming and the recovery process will be lengthy. We deal with insurance claims on a daily basis. So we wanted to use our expertise to provide some basic tips for those who have experienced losses from Hurricane Michael.
- Document the Damage
Put that smartphone to good use and take some photographs of the damage. Go a step further and take some video. Do a walkthrough of your property illustrating the extent of the damage. Do this before you start making repairs or clean up.
- Prevent Further Damage
People are often confused as to whether they should leave everything alone until the insurance company arrives or whether they should start making repairs to prevent further problems. Under the law, and likely your insurance contract, you have a duty to mitigate (minimize) your damages. And since you’re going to document the damage like we told you in Tip 1, there’s no need to wait on the insurance company. Document your damage and then start preventing further damage. For example, if the roof needs repairs, make the repairs. Or at a minimum, put a tarp over the roof to prevent further damage. If additional damages occur because you failed to take reasonable steps to prevent such damage, you may not be able to recover those damages from your insurance company.
- Keep Your Receipts
As you’re making repairs, get a folder together where you keep copies of all your receipts. Go a step further and take a picture of your receipts and email them to yourself. This way you have copies of all out-of-pocket expenses you may have incurred to help repair your home and you may be able to get them reimbursed by the insurance company.
- File Your Claim Fast
Insurance companies are ready to go quickly when disasters hit. The faster you tell them of your damage, the faster they can process your claim. Plus, there’s going to be a lot of claims from disasters like Michael. Get to the front of the line instead of the back.
These are just a few tips to help out those in need. If you want to help those that have been affected consider donating to one of the many great charity organizations helping those in need.