Hurricane Season 2017
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Hopefully, you are taking the time to read this BEFORE the possibility of a Hurricane Claim but if you are sitting on your living room floor staring at the tree through your front window and not sure what to do, this will help guide you.

How long will it take to file my hurricane claim?    

Talking to the claim representative may take anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes.  However, after a storm, the hold time may be quite a bit so make sure you have time.  They will give you a claim number and until your claim is closed, you will need to have this readily available.  It will need to be on all of your documents as well as referenced when you are calling in.

I really have a lot going on right now and just don’t have time deal with a claim right now.  It’s really not that many shingles missing.

Did you know that some policies have clauses that you are required to report the claim within a certain amount of days?  This is to prevent the situation from getting worse.  Please fit this into your schedule now instead of having the claim denied.

My agency is closed due to storm damage.  How do I file a claim?  

Since we already suggested that you have your insurance company’s phone number and policy number, not just your agency’s contact information, call directly to the company.  Don’t worry, your agency will receive notification of your claim.

***Read – Hurricane Season 2017: Why Preparation Matters***

Some of my roof is missing.  Do I need to leave it like this until the adjuster shows up?

No!  In your policy, it does state that you are required to take reasonable steps to prevent further damage.  Take photos before you do any temporary repairs such as putting a tarp over your roof or boarding up your broken windows.  Save these receipts to give to your adjuster.

A tree came through our bedroom window and now our furniture is ruined.  Can I throw this out?

Unfortunately, no.  Take photos of the damage then you can move these somewhere out of the way like in the garage.  Do not get rid of anything until the adjuster tells you to.

What can I do to speed things up for the adjuster?  

Remember the photos that we told you to take and the household inventory list?  Have that available along with any photos of the damage, preferably well lit and with several different angles, if needed.  To give a sense of scale on some items, hold up a ruler or a dollar bill to compare.  If you have the receipts for any high-end items or any quality updates that you have done to your home, these are also extremely helpful.  Be aware of what YOU need to do such as deadlines for required forms or other actions.  Failing to keep up with your obligations could jeopardize the timeliness.

Will my adjuster make an appointment with a contractor for me?

No.  You will need to find a licensed, reliable contractor with a good reputation.  Keep in mind that the best contractors will be booked up pretty quick so the sooner you can get in, the better.  Ask them for a detailed assessment in writing so you can give to your adjuster.  There are come companies that have a “Preferred Contractor Program” and you can only use their contractors. It is best to know before the claim if your company is one of them.

Is there coverage for my huge pine tree that fell in my back yard?  

Well, that depends.  If it caused damage to your house or outbuilding OR if it is blocking your driveway or wheelchair ramp, there can be coverage.  But, if it is just laying there, no.

My neighbor told me that insurance doesn’t cover the food that I lost in my deep freezer when the power went out.  Is that true?  

Well, it all depends on your policy.  Theirs may not but you may have a policy that does.  Look at your declaration pages with your agent or adjuster. FYI – it is usually only $25 a year for $500 of coverage.  Imagine having to restock your pantry.

I have a mortgage on my home, does that make a difference?

Most companies have a threshold that once the claim is over that amount, they add the mortgage in the “pay to the order of”.  Contact your mortgage company to see how they will handle the payout back to you – in a lump sum or if in installments directly to the contractor.  

I’ve seen these commercials and tv shows where someone hires a Public Adjuster to help them settle with the Insurance Adjuster.  This sounds like it will get me even more money.

Something to keep in mind, these Public Adjusters will take 10%-15% of your claim payout.  By bringing in a Public Adjuster from the beginning, you haven’t even given your Insurance Adjuster a chance to prove him/herself yet.  These Public Adjusters cannot get you any more money than you are entitled to nor can they get your claim solved faster.  In fact, you may end up with less money due to the fact that you will have to pay out a percentage to your Public Adjuster, kind of like a lawyer.

We are living at my in-laws since our house is unlivable right now.  Does this count towards our “Loss of Use” coverage?   

Are you paying them?  If not, no.  If you are, you will need receipts in addition to canceled checks as proof.  Also, there is a possibility that this information can be turned over to the IRS as extra income so make sure that there isn’t any fudging of the numbers.

It was perfect timing!  A roofer drove by and said that they can start repairing my roof tomorrow but I need to sign the contract now.  I’m not sure what to do since my adjuster won’t be here until next week.  Help!

Do not sign that contract!  Now go and read this article.

My adjuster was here a few days ago.  Why have I not received a check yet? 

During the time of a catastrophic loss such as a hurricane, dealing with a claim can take a bit longer than normal.   Adjusters have to fill out VERY detailed paperwork then send to a carrier for review and larger claims are generally settled in stages.  Based on my experience during Hurricane Ivan, these adjusters worked during the daylight hours visiting different homes then worked on paperwork at night.  Most worked 6 to 7 days a week without a lot of downtime.  Which of course we appreciate but then we have to worry about “burn out” from them.  Be patient and stay on top of your claim.  “Check in” with the adjuster once a week and make sure to always have your claim number ready; leaving a message saying, “Hi, this is Sally” is not sufficient as they are dealing with a multitude of claims.

I hope that these questions helped to explain the claims process a bit better.  As always, if you have any questions, please let us know.  That is what we are here for!

About Niceville Insurance

Niceville Insurance Agency has been proudly serving our local communities since 1995. Our specialty has been delivering insurance solutions for individuals, families, and businesses throughout Northwest Florida. Contact us for a no hassle insurance quote today!

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