A Roadmap for Insurance Claims after a Natural Disaster

Scott Sirois |

It takes courage to rebuild financially after disaster. Our latest blog post offers tips to help people affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma file insurance claims. Our hearts go out to those affected! If you have been hit by a natural disaster, here are some guidelines to follow when making insurance claims:

  • • Act fast and document everything. Take photos before moving any damaged items. Experts also recommend making claims as soon as possible, because insurance companies work on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • • Wait before making permanent repairs. An insurance adjustor will visit the property to survey the damage, and residents will need to agree on the value of repairs. Before making temporary repairs to prevent further damage, inform the company.
  • • Make sure the adjustor represents your insurer. In a widespread disaster, there will be independent insurance adjustors on the scene, which means it’s important to make sure the adjustor works for your insurer. You can also ask for the name of the internal adjustor to whom the independent adjustor is sending information.
  • • Remember settlement offers can be negotiated. The insurance company may not be taking into account regional differences in the costs of materials and labor, for instance.
  • • Keep a paperwork trail and register complaints in writing. There are places to turn for help, including state insurance commissioners.

More than 40 percent of U.S. homes are at high risk of being affected by a natural disaster, a 2015 report by research firm RealtyTrac found. The best time to take a good look at your insurance policy is before a disaster strikes.