It’s summertime in Tampa Bay which means thunderstorms and hurricanes are bound to strike. Heavy winds, water damage, debris can all cause damage to your home or business and when it strikes, it can be devastating. Make sure you are prepared and ready to take action in the event of a damaging storm. Here are 7 steps you should take if your home or business has been affected:
1. Immediately report the claim to your insurance company
It is important to report the claim to your insurance company as soon as possible. Most insurance companies use email or have an online portal where you can submit your claim, making it easy to track and manage all communications with the insurance company. If online options are not available, review your policy documents or the company’s website for a phone number to start the claims process.
2. Make a list of all damages and take photos and/or videos of the existing damage
You want to make sure you document everything. It is important to make a list of all damaged property, including as much information as possible, such as types of floors, carpeting, or brand of furniture for all of the damaged items. Document any and all damages to your property, using photos and/ or videos to be taken throughout stages of the repair. The information stored will be valuable later in the claims process so… the more information you can document, the better.
3. Protect your property from further damage
Do your best to protect your property from further damage. For example, if your roof is leaking, do your best to protect your property from further damage by putting a plastic tarp over the leak, use buckets, and dry the floors as much as possible.
4. Save all documents exchanged between you and your insurance company
Since you have documented all photos and videos of the damages, make sure you also keep track of all letters, emails, and claim numbers you would have received from your insurance company. Keeping a record of all communications including the date, time, and the person you spoke with, will help protect you and claims throughout the process.
5. Field inspection
After the claim is made, you will go through field inspection. This includes communications with the field adjuster that will visit your home on behalf of the insurance company. Make sure you keep a record of the damaged areas you pointed out to him/ her as well as a summary of what was discussed regarding the damages.
6. Save all receipts and/or estimates related to the damage and/or repairs
It is important to save all receipts from repairs or equipment used during the repairs. Any estimates or quotes that you receive should be saved and documented. Make sure you are careful before signing any paperwork with the company performing or providing an estimate for the repairs. Many companies often have an assignment of benefits that allows the company estimating the repairs, to collect directly from your insurance company. This could significantly affect your rights under your policy. You will want to have a lawyer review these documents before signing any paperwork with these repair companies.
We understand that dealing with hurricane damage can be overwhelming. Unfortunately for the home or business owner, insurance companies have adjusters whose jobs are to save their own money, oftentimes leaving your home or business at a severe disadvantage by getting your claim improperly denied, or significantly underpaid. In many cases, with Busciglio & Sheridan, our fee can be paid directly from the insurance company in addition to the settlement we get for your claim. Contact us if your home or business has sustained damage and we will walk you through the process, take on the insurance company, and fight for the results you deserve.