Hurricane Florence may have already moved out of North Carolina, but the damage left behind is going to take months or even years to recover from. Those in North Carolina are going to have many challenges to face during that time. One of them will be making claims for flood insurance. It is critical that those making claims take the proper steps to ensure they get the most out of their coverage. Here are five ways to do it.
Pay Attention to Deadlines
Even in a tragedy like Hurricane Florence, homeowners must meet the filing deadlines to have a valid claim. The regulations for submitting a claim are extremely short and must be met. A person only has 60 days from the date of the loss to file a claim. Therefore, it is important to abide by this timeline and submit any claim on time.
Document All Losses
After contacting the insurance company, the insurer will send an insurance adjuster to assess the damage to any property and personal items that were damaged in the storm. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to ask for a list of all those personal items, so it is good to have that ready. Photographs should also be taken of all the damage caused by the storm. If possible, the personal items lost should all be written down along with the date they were purchased and their estimated value. Receipts are especially helpful for those who still have them.
Protect Yourself from the Insurance Company
It is a fact no one likes to think about, but even in the hardest of times insurance companies do not always play fair. They are in the business of making money and paying out large claims, particularly many in one area, is not a good way for them to do that.
The insurance company could dispute that the adjuster agreed the insured had a valid claim, or take anything that was said out of context. This is why it is so important to document everything. Document the date and time of every visit from the adjuster, what was discussed, any time they missed an appointment, did not return a phone call, or were simply just rude. These can be helpful in the future if a lawsuit is filed.
It is also important to note that the policyholder does not need to trust or accept the adjuster’s evaluation. Do not accept an adjuster’s evaluation without speaking with an attorney or having the evaluation verified. Especially if it seems lower than it should be.
Keep on Top of the Claim
Insurance claims can take weeks from the time they are submitted to the time homeowners are given their final check. While an adjuster may provide a check for immediate needs such as clothing, food, and medicine, it is important that homeowners stay on top of their claim and regularly check on it with the insurance company. After the adjuster completes their report, the homeowner should also have an opportunity to look it over for mistakes before signing.
Speak with an Attorney
It is possible that an insurance company could act out of bad faith and deny a claim to those who need it most. When this worst-case scenario does happen, homeowners can take the insurance company to court to get the coverage they deserve.
However, these cases can be complicated however and an attorney should represent anyone who wishes to sue a big insurance company. To make it easier for those involved, it is best that the attorney be part of the process from the beginning so they can be familiar with the case should the time come to go to court. In addition, an attorney can speak to the insurance company on the homeowner’s behalf to ensure they get the coverage they are entitled to.