Storm Damage & Claims Guidance
When a storm rolls through and leaves damage in its wake, you should be prepared for what to expect. This helpful guide will show you the steps you should take immediately after the storm - as well as what you should expect throughout the initial claims process.
In the event of a hail storm:
The first step is to get a claim filed with your insurance company as soon as you know your property has been damaged by hail; the sooner they are notified, the sooner an inspection can take place. Large hailstorms will keep roofing companies busy. You will want to find a reputable contractor who can repair the damages sustained by hail.
In the event of a flood:
Take steps to prevent and mitigate further damage:
- Help prevent mold by removing wet contents immediately.
Remove saturated carpeting, stuffed furniture, bedding, and any other items holding dampness, moisture or water - but save samples. Walls, floors, doors, closets, and shelves should be thoroughly washed and disinfected to help avoid mold.
- Thoroughly dry out the home's interior using a portable dehumidifier.
Rental costs may be covered by your flood policy. Your air conditioner can also be used to start the drying process.
- If the walls are damaged, take photographs of the baseboard, then remove it.
Knock small holes at floor level in the drywall between the wall studs to permit moisture trapped behind the drywall to seep out and begin drying.
- Have your furnace and hot water heater checked for damage.
While they may seem to work, the floodwater could affect the internal elements.
Managing the Repair Process
Most claims are settled within 30 to 60 days of the filing. Repairs, however, will probably take longer than this, so it is important to be attentive during the process to make sure you are getting a quality job at a fair price.
Once an inspection is scheduled, you will be able to meet with the claims adjuster to point out the damages and ask any questions. If you have a contractor already lined up, they can also meet with the claims adjuster during the initial inspection to determine the scope of damages, as well as costs for repairs. The claims adjuster will review the damages to determine if repairs or replacement is warranted and compile an estimate.
For major repairs, get a minimum of three estimates. Don't hesitate to question the contractors on variations in pricing.
- Make sure all estimates:
- Provide work details
- Give a fixed price
- Are signed
Never proceed with repairs on the basis of a verbal agreement. Natural disasters attract unqualified contractors looking for work cheaply for cash. Ask for state licenses and references, including names and phone numbers, and take the time to call them.
Rebuilding and Recovery
It's not always easy, but the time you take to ensure proper repairs will be well worth it in the long run.
While you can't control the weather, you can control how well you are prepared. Keeping accurate records, along with photos, receipts, and itemized lists will help prepare you if your property takes on storm damage. It is also important to remember that your flood policy does not automatically renew. It is up to you to renew your policy annually by contacting your flood insurance agent.
Selective offers a variety of resources to help you prepare, handle, and recover from a flood, should one occur. Report your claim by visiting www.selective.com, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling (877) 348-0552.
Start your Selective Flood Claim
Contact the insurance professionals at TrueNorth for more information about keeping your home afloat when faced with flood damage. More information available at www.iTrueNorth.com