Summer is right around the corner but with sunshine and beach trips also comes….hurricane season. Hurricanes are a major cause of insurance claims and property damage in coastal states. Obviously there are many aspects of hurricane season that we have no control over. However, there are some steps that all property owners and renters can take to help prevent damages, mitigate and expedite the claims process and ensure that family, property, pets and possessions stay as safe as possible.
The key to protecting your home during hurricane season is: preparation and prevention. Some key steps include:
- Have a home inventory completed and saved in a safe place. This may contain pictures, listed items, appraisals of high-value items, a video walk-through of the home, etc. This will aid in the claims process.
- Ensure that all valuable documents such as birth certificates, passports, insurance policy details, etc. are stored in a safe place that can be transported if you need to leave.
- Make sure that limbs are trimmed away from the property. Tie down or store all outdoor furniture, park your auto inside a garage or away from trees if a shelter is not available.
- Consider covering large windows. Make sure that all windows are secure.
- Make sure that all electronics are turned off and unplugged. Power surges can damage electronics.
If you have to evacuation due to a hurricane, remember that safety comes first when re-entering the property location. When you return to your home you should:
- Take pictures or video of any damages as soon as possible.
- If you notice any significant structural damages, do not enter the home. Call the local authorities to check the home’s structure before you enter.
- Take all reasonable steps to prevent further damage:
- Cover holes in the roof with plywood or a tarp.
- Cover damaged windows so further damage doesn’t occur.
- Always keep any receipts for items purchased to prevent damage before the storm or for materials used to prevent further damage after the storm.
- If there is obvious property damage, turn off the water and/or electricity to the property until you can determine the extent of the damage.
Once you have determined that the property is safe to re-enter and you have documented the initial damages as detailed above, you will want to report the claim as soon as possible. Keep in mind that our adjusters want to help and are processing claims as quickly as possible. Here are some tips to filing a claim for the fastest processing:
- Report your claim as soon as possible.
- Call your insurance company and have your name and policy number available. Report the type of claim and a description of any of the damages that you have witnessed to the property.
- Once your claim is reported, a claims adjuster will be coming out to assess the damage. Depending on the size of the storm and damage caused, this may take 1-7 days. This is where preventative steps are important.
- Always feel free to call in and ask for updates on the claims process. Nationwide also offers an online tracking method so you can track the claim’s process.
For a complete home assessment, contact The Choice Insurance Agency Team at 757-416-5100. Get the right coverage and see how much YOU can $ave! Make sure that your hurricane preparation plan is in place…and then get back to enjoying the beach!
The Choice Insurance Agency’s mission is to help you get from where you are to where you want to be financially by planning, achieving your plan and protecting your plan from unexpected events. In the process, our goal is to deliver insurance services in a manner that exceeds your expectations. See what The Choice Insurance Agency can do for you today. Give us a call at 757-416-5100 to speak with one of the licensed, professional members of our team or request a contact here. The Choice Insurance Agency. We’re on YOUR side. 757-416-5100.