Reporting a Storm Related Loss

A Storm Hit. Now What?

We try to be careful by watching weather reports and storm proofing our homes. Despite all we do, Mother Nature sometimes gets the best of the South Carolina and Florida homeowner. When a loss happens, what should you do to protect yourself and begin the homeowners insurance claim process?

Safety first

Your first step before a major weather event is to determine if you will evacuate or stay in your home. In a hurricane, wind-driven water called “storm surge” kills more people than do winds. After a major weather event has passed and you return to your home or venture outside, it is important to ensure your own safety. Weather events can down power lines and create dangerous power surges when utility companies restore power. The down power lines can cause a fire or potentially electrocute a person standing too close. Always put your family’s safety first when trying to assess damage.

Evaluate and mitigate

If you can safely evaluate your home after a storm, try to determine what you can do to reduce your losses. For example, if furniture sits in water and you can easily move it to a higher floor, do so. Try to document with photos or video to help the adjuster more easily handle your claim. If you can tarp your roof to protect your home’s interior from further damage, you should. If you are burglarized, seal the entry point as soon as possible. If water is leaking in your home, turn off the main water shutoff valve. Every homeowner should know where his or her main water valve is located. If you don’t know, ask a friend, neighbor or a plumber to help you locate it and show you how to shut it off.

If your home is currently insured with Frontline Insurance ®, when the home is inspected, we supply you with a tag to attach to your main water shutoff valve. This will help you know ahead of time where it is located. Taking simple steps to prevent additional damage makes sense and is a “condition” of every homeowner’s policy, which states that you will take reasonable steps to mitigate losses.

Submit the claim at your first opportunity

The sooner you submit your homeowners claim, the more quickly your adjuster can help you get your life back to normal. There are several ways to file your claim.

  • If the loss occurs during normal business hours, contact your agent, who may be able to help you find trustworthy contractors to assist with board up and temporary repairs.
  • Many insurers staff 24-hour claims service centers. Call your insurance company directly at the phone number on your policy or furnished to you when you purchased your policy.
  • Many carriers, including Frontline, offer on-line claims submittal. Take a few minutes before a loss occurs to set up your account and review your carrier’s claims reporting process.

 

When storms hit

Adjusters attempt to contact you within 24 hours of the receipt of your claim. However, when storms hit and scores of homeowners file claims, your adjuster may be overburdened. If you do not hear from your adjuster, call your insurance company and ask for your claim number. Then ask to speak to the adjuster. You will need the claim number each time you call to expedite handling, so keep it handy once you get it.

The nature and type of your loss determines how your insurer handles your claim. For certain types of losses carriers will send an adjuster to your home. That adjuster may work for your insurance carrier or contracts with your insurance carrier to handle your claim. These field adjusters are skilled in helping to determine the extent of damage to your home.

Carefully track any out of pocket expenses you incur to repair or replace damaged property. Don’t discard damaged items, until your adjuster has examined them.

Finding the right contractor is not always easy, especially after a major storm. Your adjuster may provide a list of reputable contractors with whom they can help develop an estimate and an agreed price.

Before a loss occurs …

Evaluate your homeowner’s coverage. Don’t wait until a loss occurs to explore the extra services offered by your coastal homeowner’s insurance carrier. Call a Frontline agent today to learn more about how Frontline can help the Florida or South Carolina homeowner.

To learn more about Frontline Insurance, visit frontlineinsurance.com.

To locate an agent in your area, use our Agent Locator.

Please remember that the comments contained in this blog are general in nature and that coverage under any specific policy of insurance will depend upon the terms and conditions of such policy.