Victims of Hurricane Dennis who have flood insurance can reportedly get their settlements faster if they follow these tips:
* When you call your insurance agent to make a claim, have your policy number and an address and telephone number where you can be reached. (If you do not have a permanent address, you will need a contact through whom you can be reached.)
* On the call, ask when an adjuster can be expected to visit your property. The adjuster will work with you to calculate your losses and prepare a settlement estimate. If you do not hear from the adjuster within a week after the expected time, call your agent again.
* Evidence of your loss will be important in reaching an estimate. Photographs or videotape of the property showing the damage are valuable. If you dispose of damaged items, such as carpeting or upholstered furniture, cut out swatches to show the adjuster.
* Make a list of your damaged property and note its age and value. If possible, have purchase receipts for these items. Separate damaged property from undamaged before the adjuster arrives. Show the adjuster any repair estimates you have received from contractors or technicians.
Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) toll-free to register for disaster assistance. The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may be able to cover uninsured losses or, if your settlement is significantly delayed, may be able to advance you cash that you will pay back when your settlement arrives.
The speech- and hearing-impaired can register with FEMA by calling the TTY number at 1-800-462-7585. Register online at www.fema.gov. The phone lines and Web are currently available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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