The devastating effects of a hurricane or flood often can be made worse when consumers don’t understand their insurance policies or the right way to file an insurance claim.
The CPCU Society, an association for nearly 28,000 CPCU-credentialed insurance industry professionals, offers consumers five simple tips for filing insurance claims. These tips focus on what homeowners should do when a hurricane or flood damages their property.
“After catastrophic events, many people are waiting way too long to prevent further damage to their homes. They should not wait for their adjuster or agent to assess claims before they begin the process of preventing further damage. They should be doing anything reasonably possible to minimize the damage that future events may inflict,” said Errol Garren, who has spent the last two weeks in Florida. Garren said that a large majority of homeowners don’t realize what policy language dictates and that if they don’t make reasonable efforts to try and prevent further damage after a flood or hurricane occurs, they may be surprised to learn that part of the damage is not included in the claim payment.
The CPCU Society offers the following five tips to homeowners when filing insurance claims for property damage relating to hurricanes, floods, or other natural disasters:
* Don’t alter the condition of the house before it is inspected by the adjuster; however, make emergency repairs to prevent further damage.
* Contact one’s agent or company representative as soon as possible with all information relating to the claim.
* Follow up the call with a written explanation of the claim.
* Keep a record of all expenses one incurs as a result of property damage, including expenses involved in temporary repairs. Include any hotel and meal expenses because these costs may be covered.
* Take photos of the site after an accident or other disaster.
Following these and other preventative measures will help in the reduction of costly insurance claims and will help maintain homeowner insurance costs.
For more information on filing insurance claims, visit the CPCU Society Web site at www.cpcusociety.org. Click on the Consumer Information page and go to the Free Insurance Information tab.
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