Hurricane Prepardness

A couple of hints if you're dealing with damage from the hurricane:

1). In most cases, your deductible will be SIGNIFICANTLY higher because it was a named storm, usually 2%-5% of the value of your policy. Remember, YOU bought the policy, and YOU agreed to the terms. It isn't the fault of the adjuster or insurance salesman that you elected to purchase the least expensive monthly payment. There are people who will prey upon your desire to eliminate your deductible, so be very careful how you approach this aspect of your claim. If an individual or company is offering to do the work and absorb the cost of the deductible, my recommendation is to politely decline the offer and find someone else. During crises such as this, insurance companies are hyper-sensitive to fraud, and what may sound to your desperate ears like a great deal may turn out to be your worst nightmare.

2). ANYTHING you do to mitigate damages, from removing a tree to patching your roof temporarily, should be included as a cost in your insurance claim. Sweat equity is the cheapest way to "lower" your deductible.

3). Be proactive when sorting out your damaged goods. Take photographs or videos of damaged property and contents, and begin building a spreadsheet or list of contents and their individual costs. Your insurance company will require you to do this, and even though it is very frustrating, stressful and mundane it will be worth it in the long run. You'll be amazed at how it adds up. A container of garlic salt is around $4.00! Don't short change yourself, but also make sure you don't go overboard. That garage-sale vase you bought isn't from the Ming Dynasty, and it surely isn't worth a felony charge.

4). YOU are responsible for mitigating the damage to your property! Your insurance company will typically begin processing your claim quickly, and it is in your best interest to begin repairs at the earliest possible date. Beware of anyone who tries to delay the progress by creating an adversarial relationship with the adjuster or insurance company. Believe me, the adjuster wants your claim handled as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to move on to the next claim. In the particular climate in which we find ourselves -high temperatures and terrible humidity- the specter of developing mold grows with each passing day. Most people don't realize that mold mitigation is either limited to $10,000.00 or not covered at all in a standard homeowner's policy. Mold mitigation is terribly expensive, and in many cases the $10,000.00 won't come close to covering the expense. So, don't delay-get the ball rolling as quickly as possible.

For the few of us who do this type of work every day (insurance repair), the items listed above seem like common sense. To the average homeowner, however, it can be overwhelming and extremely stressful. Be very careful who you choose to handle your repairs, and make sure they are familiar with the protocols and standards of the insurance industry (hiring your cousin because "he needs the work" is typically disastrous). Again, I can't stress the importance of ensuring that whomever you hire doesn't cause an adversarial relationship with your adjuster or insurance company. When the repairs are completed he (or she) will be long gone and you'll have to continue the relationship with your carrier.

I hope this helps, but please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need assistance.


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