The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has outlined key steps to help home and business owners work toward recovery following Hurricane Dennis.
Protect yourself. 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 structure has been flooded.
Report the loss 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.
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.
Prepare a list. Keep damaged items or portions of them until the claim adjuster has visited your home, and consider photographing or videotaping the damage to document your claim. Prepare a list of damaged or lost items for your adjuster.
Keep receipts. If you need to relocate, keep records and receipts for all additional expenses.
Return claim forms. After your insurance company has been notified of your claim, it 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.
Build stronger next time. As the rebuilding process begins, IBHS suggests talking to the contractor about adding features that would increase the structure’s disaster-resistance.
IBHS offers two guides to help in the recovery process. “You Can Go Home Again” and “Getting Back to Business” are available on the IBHS Web site http://www.disastersafety.org/ . For a free single copy write email@example.com or call toll free 1 (866) 657-IBHS (4247).
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