Tips For Filing An Insurance Claim
Hurricane Harvey has caused so much destruction for so many in Texas. There is a projected $5 billion to $10 billion in property damage in Texas, which will result in tens of thousands of insurance claims. Standard homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies will cover wind damage and personal property damage but unfortunately won’t cover ground water flood damage. You will need to have separate coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurance company. There are also grants provided to victims from The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), however, the amount provided doesn’t cover the costs to recover.
One of the first steps you will need to take after the storm is contacting your insurance provider to make a claim. Here are some tips for filing an insurance claim:
- Call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the claim. Insurance companies usually visit the most severely damaged areas first. Make sure to provide an accurate description of any damages and write down your claim number as it’s the quickest and easiest way for insurance companies to locate your file. Also note, it could take anywhere from a week to 6 months to be contacted by an insurance adjuster, depending on the extent of damage. The insurance company should be able to give you a time frame of when you can expect to be contacted by the insurance adjuster.
- Take pictures and video of the damage. Also make a list of all damaged personal items and include the date of purchase and approximate value of those damaged items and find receipts if possible.
- Keep track of anything you spend to make immediate repairs to secure your home. Keep receipts for hotels and food if you aren’t able to return home right away.
- Don’t discard any damaged item until you’ve checked with your insurance company. Typically the insurance adjuster will need to see these. But if you must for safety reasons, make sure to document with photographs and video to help with claims.
- Make a claim notebook. Begin with the people you’ve been in contact with from your insurance company and include names and phone numbers. Jot down dates, times and issues discussed for every phone call.
- If your insurance company uses SMS/text alerts to notify you of the status of your claim, make sure you sign up for these alerts. You will receive notifications for when you first report your claim, when your estimate is available and when a payment has been sent.