Millions of homeowners in the Northeast woke up today and confronted the specter of flooded structures, fallen trees and other serious property damage. Last year’s Hurricane Irene clocked in as the fifth most expensive hurricane in history, with $19 billion in damages, and Sandy’s impact is expected to be even larger. Although most of us in the Midwest did not experience damage from Sandy’s wrath, there are several steps to take immediately when confronted with a natural disaster:
- The first step is locating your policy and reviewing the terms to determine whether or not you have covered claims. While wind causes some damage to homes, cars and other property, the big issue is flooding. Flooding is responsible for more than 90 percent of property damage inflicted by natural disasters, although it isn’t covered in most homeowners’ insurance policies. Wind damage is typically covered. And I would venture to say Donald Trump’s comb over is NOT covered. 🙂
- Inspect your home, take pictures of any structural or property damage as soon as possible and pull together a list of damaged property along with, if possible, how much those items were worth. Gathering all that information quickly will help expedite the claims process. Homeowners who file their claims right away can expect to meet with an adjuster in just a few days, so people who file today could meet with an adjuster in the short term. If your home is too badly damaged to inhabit, some insurance companies can give you funds for temporary living expenses immediately.
- To get rebuilding under way, shop around for estimates from trusted contractors. Even though you’ll be anxious to get your house and your life back to normal, it’s important to conduct due diligence and make sure that whoever’s handling the repairs is reliable. Unscrupulous contractors prey on the victims of natural disasters, so ask friends or family for referrals, and be sure to check the contractor’s references.
As always, do not hesitate to contact Brad or Ann with questions that arise!