Now that Hurricane Matthew has all but exited Florida, continuing to make its way up the Atlantic Coast, people are slowly starting to come out from shelters or return home, eager to assess the fallout from the strongest storm to hit the state in roughly ten years.
While the full extent of the damage has yet to be determined, the Consumer Federation of America has already predicted that Hurricane Matthew will generate an astounding 100,000 insurance claims relating to wind damage and damages well north of $7.4 billion.
All of this begs the question as to what, if anything, people can do once it’s safe to return to their property only to find that its sustained considerable damage.
According to the CFA, property owners in this situation should consider the following:
- Given that claims are typically addressed on a first-come, first-served basis, file a claim as quickly as possible.
- Once the claim has been filed, be sure to write down the claim number and keep it readily accessible given that it will be the primary identifier for the insurance company.
- If immediate repairs prove necessary to secure the property, make sure to maintain solid documentation of the work performed for reimbursement purposes.
- If the property is uninhabitable owing to the damage, make sure to maintain solid documentation of food and lodging costs for reimbursement purposes.
The CFA also indicates that once a claim has been filed, property owners should take care to consider the following:
- Create a file or start a notebook in which to document any and all conversations with the insurance company, including contact information of personnel, dates, times, topics addressed and any other information that could be useful in the event of a dispute.
- Speak with a trusted local contractor who can supply a repair estimate to use as a point of reference during future discussions with insurance adjusters.
Here’s hoping you and your family came through the storm safely.
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