The first thing to know about hurricane insurance is that you need to choose the lowest deductible possible. A 10 percent deductible on a $500,000 home will cost you $50,000 out of pocket. The cost of the insurance will be higher overall, but save you considerable money when a hurricane strikes.
The aftermath of a hurricane and the sheer amount of damage is difficult to comprehend. You may be experiencing trauma and shock, but it’s important to deal with details of the damage the insurance company is going to want when you file a claim.
Document the Damage
Before the hurricane arrives, take photos of your home from all angles. Immediately after the storm, document the damage from all available angles. Do not begin any cleanup work until the insurance company’s adjuster has arrived on-site to assess the damage. It’s also helpful to record news reports of the impending hurricane prior to and during landfall.
Protect the Site
Your insurance company will typically require you to protect the site from further damage, vandals or intruders. That can include boarding up points of entry or tarping a roof.
There can be hundreds and even thousands of claims filed after a hurricane. The sooner you file a claim, the quicker you can begin getting your life back in order. Claims are dealt with in the order they’re received and you want your claim on record as soon as possible.
Beware of Scammers
Following any type of natural disaster, there’s an influx of scammers to the area. Ask for identification from anyone claiming to be from your insurance agency. Scammers often offer to simplify the process for you by having you sign an assignment of benefits. Don’t do it. The insurance money will go to them, not you. They collect the reimbursement and provide no services.
It’s important to know that you’re under no obligation to take the initial reimbursement offer from the insurer. Insurance company adjusters want to close a claim quickly and will offer to write you a check on the spot. Get estimates from legitimate contractors first, who know the cost of materials and labor to restore or rebuild your home. If you take the offer and its insufficient, hire a public adjuster to reopen the claim and negotiate on your behave for more money.