Always be careful when entering a damaged building. If there is serious structural damage, contact local officials before entering. Report downed power lines or gas leaks. Keep electricity turned off if the building has been flooded.
Protect Your Property
Take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage. This could mean boarding up windows and salvaging undamaged items. Your insurance company can tell you what they will pay for regarding protection.
Report Losses As Soon As Possible
Contact your insurance agent or insurer as soon as you can. Provide a general description of the damage and have your policy number handy if possible. Write down the adjuster’s name, phone number and work schedule as soon as you have them.
Prepare A List
Keep damaged items or portions of them until the claim adjuster has visited, and consider photographing or videotaping the damage to document your claim. Prepare a list of damaged or lost items for your adjuster.
If you need to relocate, keep records and receipts for all additional expenses. Most insurance policies cover emergency living arrangements.
Return Claim Forms
After your insurance company has been notified of your claim, they must send you the necessary claim forms within a certain number of days (time period varies by state). Fill out and return the forms as soon as possible. If you do not understand the process, be sure to ask questions and write down the explanation.
When starting the cleanup process, be careful, and use protective eyewear and gloves if available. Adjusters may tell business owners to hire a professional cleaning service.
After-Storm Safety Tips
Beware of debris. Storms with extensive rain and high winds, such as tropical storms and hurricanes, can cause severe damage and create hazardous conditions such as fallen trees and other types of dangerous debris including downed power lines, broken glass, small pieces of buildings, commercial signs, and road signs. After the storm passes, residents should be extremely careful as they sort through the wreckage to assess the damage.
Handle power outages safely. Power outages are common after storms and many residents and businesses rely on backup generators until power can be restored. While power generators are quite useful, they also pose certain risks including fire, damage to electrical equipment, and even injury or death. Before using a generator, it’s important to understand these risks and the necessary precautions for safe operation.