When Disaster Strikes, Know the Drill

It isn’t easy to get an insurer to pay a claim after a natural disaster.  When pursuing a claim, always be the first to do everything – visit the scene, take photos and read your policy.  Insurers will pay only if the covered claims are documented. You should:

* locate a copy of all insurance policies.

* contact the insurer immediately and file a claim.

* videotape or photograph the damage in the light most favorable to ensuring coverage.

* save copies of receipts, checks, estimates, and invoices of all pre- and post-disaster expenses, purchases, rentals, and leases.

* mitigate damages through temporary repairs after documenting the damage and allowing the adjuster to inspect.

* obtain the latest appraisal of the premises, equipment and business and personal property.

* prepare a map of the premises and the location of personal property, equipment, and machinery.

* obtain a licensed contractor’s estimate for damage and a timeline for repair, and retain an engineer to diagnose any structural damage.

* diary and confirm conversations with insurance representatives, adjusters, and experts.

* timely send the “proof of loss” under the policy.

For a homeowner’s claim, know the policy’s terms, including the deductibles and whether it covers actual cash value or replacement cost.  You should also know when the deductible is to be applied before making a claim; the deductible often comes off the top and it may eliminate your claim depending on the amount.

If you need any legal help, just give me a call or send me an e-mail.  Go Orioles.  Be well.  John CM

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