Storms can cause a lot of damage to your home and property, especially if you live on Long Island. Not only can storms cause damage to your roof, cause flooding, knock trees into your home, and even lead to mold or mildew damage if water gets in.
On top of the stress caused by damage to your property, you’ll also have to deal with the stress of managing your insurance claim, which can be both a cumbersome and difficult process. When dealing with an insurance claim for storm damage you’ll need to ensure you properly document and account for all damage sustained. In this blog, we’ll provide you with some practical steps for documenting damage after any type of storm damage.
Work on One Room at a Time
In order to ensure you have everything documented, you need to be as organized as possible. To do this, it’s best to work through your home one room at a time. As you move through each room assess the damage in each, and document it carefully. Don’t move onto the next room until you have completed the current room.
This will also give you the ability to start and stop without missing something, or worrying if you didn’t document all of the damage in a particular room.
Maintain a Detailed List
Create a list that documents everything you observed in and around your home after the storm. Keep this list with you as you go from room to room documenting damage. This list should include what room you’re documenting, what is in the room, as well as a description of the damages. Keep your list, and anything relevant to the storm, together in a folder. You should also, keep your insurance claim form and bills from the storm all together in the folder to make things easier.
Be careful not to throw away any damaged items until you have spoken to your insurance company. Add the items to your list, photograph them, and leave them be until your insurance company has verified the damage and given you to okay to dispose of the item. Otherwise, you may not have proof if they dispute the claim later.
Take A Lot of Photos
In addition to writing down each item or instance of storm damage, you also need to take a lot of photos. Photos are necessary for proving the claim and will show exactly what damages were sustained from the storm. Keep these photos in an easy-to-access location, and make you have a backup on an external hard drive or cloud-based account.
Account for Lost Rent or Additional Living Expenses
If the damage to your home is extensive enough that you need to find temporary housing it’s important that you keep a record of every expense. This includes hotel bills, meal receipts, canceled checks, credit card receipts, text messages, and email conversations detailing the arrangements you had to make.
Make several copies of these documents and make sure at least one is provided to your insurance company as evidence of your claim.
It is very important to track every expense caused by the storm damage until the claim is closed and you have been compensated for your losses and damages. You never know when the insurance company will ask for proof of an expense.
File a Claim with Your Insurance Company
One of the most important steps is to file a claim with your insurance company. This should be done quickly as possible because many insurance companies may quickly become inundated with claims. By contacting them as quickly as possible, you’ll get into the system and will hopefully get your claim responded to quicker.
Hire a Public Adjuster
We recommend hiring an independent estimator or contractor quickly to help you handle your storm damage claim, especially if you’re unable to reach an acceptable settlement. The public adjuster will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you get a fair settlement. In fact, they are often successful in getting more money than you would have gotten dealing with your insurance company yourself.