Home Insurance: What to Do After Disaster Strikes

Written by  //  October 22, 2012  //  Home Insurance  //  Comments Off on Home Insurance: What to Do After Disaster Strikes

You knew when you purchased this home that there was a potential risk for any number of natural disasters. Floods. Tornados. Hurricanes. They were pretty much all fair game. In fact, in case you didn’t know, when ANYBODY purchases ANY home they are taking a bit of a gamble, because no matter how you reinforce it and prepare, you can never fully predict what Mother Nature has up her sleeve.

Thankfully, that’s why stuff like homeowner’s insurance exists. Although its ultimate intent is to lessen the burden YOU have to deal with, many people don’t know how to handle events like natural disasters. When disaster strikes your family and your home, there are certain things you NEED to be sure to do, to ensure you get the most out of your coverage plan.

Below are just some simple tips to keep in mind, should your home fall under the powerful blow of Mother Nature.

Inventory Your Items

This is actually something that should have been done BEFORE as a proactive measure. The purpose is to get an idea of what you own so that should damage occur, there is an easy way to estimate the total expenses involved. Technology has made this immensely easier than it used to be, as there are now smartphone apps to help you document everything.

If by chance disaster strikes and you haven’t taken inventory of your possessions, it’s definitely NOT the end of the world, but you might have a bit more headache than others who were prepared.

Contact Your Provider

Once the storm has passed and you’ve determined everyone is hopefully safe and accounted for, you need to contact your insurance provider. If many are affected they may even send agents to the area, but should this not be a case, definitely make a point to get a hold of them so that they can begin processing your issue.
This will also give them a more realistic idea of the damage. Over time other factors can affect your situation, but if you call immediately after the disaster there will be less chance for them to challenge or doubt your claim—not that they will but you never know.

Overall, it’s in the best interest of both you and the insurance company to get the ball rolling as soon as possible so that you can get on the path to rebuilding and normalcy again.

Don’t Put off Necessary Repairs

Obviously, sometimes the damage done cannot be repaired overnight. However, quick fixes to prevent further damage or ruin CAN be done in haste. Sure, it is just a Band-Aid for the real issue, but it’s better than facing a worse situation than you were originally dealt. So, board up windows, cover roof leaks and re-secure any valuables that are now vulnerable or exposed.

These may seem like tedious little steps, but they can make all the difference in the world—both financially and mentally (as it provides peace of mind)—as you start to tackle bigger problems like the choice of whether to rebuild or simply relocate.

Work WITH Your Provider During the Rebuilding Process

As your home and family get on the road back to normalcy, there will likely be a lengthy process which involves assessments, estimates, initial repairs, reviews and more. Being difficult and short with your insurance provider will not help anyone involved, so try your best to keep a positive attitude and be easy to work with. They understand it is a stressful time and will try their best to accommodate your needs as they can, but they still have a job to do, and ultimately need your assistance to make that happen.

Keep the lines of communication open and friendly to make the situation easier on everyone involved.

Tracy Myers is a former real estate agent and current contributor to the blog at homeinsurance.org where she keeps readers up-to-date with home security, insurance and DIY tips. Tracy loves hearing from her readers and welcomes your comments below!

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