There’s nothing like a severe weather event to focus attention on disaster recovery strategies. Unfortunately, that’s the situation in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Recovery has been delayed somewhat in light of a nor’easter following close on the heels of Sandy. Still, home owners need to continue in their recovery work following this severe winter storm. There are several helpful strategies to consider in returning to your recovery step.
Damage Inspection is Essential
Upon returning to your home, it’s important to assess the damages right away. Debris may have fallen into the yard. It may also be found on the roof or in other parts of your home. This can make your home impassable and may have caused structural damage as well. Downed trees or fallen limbs are especially common, but there are many types of debris to consider, and only an inspection of your property can provide you with a realistic view of problems. Look also for leaks. Debris may have loosened shingles, and winds blowing shingles loose can lead to leaks. Your home can sustain water damage in this case. Serious damage should lead you to file a claim.
Filing Your Insurance Claim
In light of significant damage, you should contact your insurance company in order to initiate a claim. Make sure that you document in writing and with photos the types of damage and the areas affected. Be as detailed as possible. Additionally, take whatever steps are possible to protect your home from further damages.
Watch Out for Rogue Repair Companies
Check the credentials of contractors before you hire them. You can easily investigate license numbers of vendors so that you can be sure that they are operating with integrity. Refusal of a contractor to provide a license number makes it obvious that there is a problem. Obtain formal quotes so that you are sure of what work is to be done and what the costs will be. An uninsured company working on your property is a liability as you could be financially responsible for injuries to their representatives in the context of the work performed. Do your homework. Don’t agree to hire a contractor with whom you aren’t familiar.
Proof of Physical Losses Through Documentation
You need to be able to show loss in order to file a claim. Photo documentation is the best means of proving damages. Once you have provided the necessary proof and paid your deductible, your insurance provider will follow with payment for replacement of damaged property.
Make Wise Choices in Filing an Insurance Claim
Some residents attempt to keep their insurance costs low by including a high deductible in their home owner’s policies. When you consider filing a claim, balance the cost of the deductible with the cost of the repairs. It’s better to pay for repairs on your own if their costs will be close to the amount of your deductible. Filing a claim can lead to increased rates with your insurance provider, making it sensible to limit your claim filing to only extreme damages.
Time Limits are Important
Flood damage claims are especially affected by time limits. There is a limit of 60 days for filing of a flood claim. Make sure that you provide documentation. Photos and descriptions are helpful in assuring that your claim is approved. While there have been times of extended filing periods after severe events, it’s not guaranteed that there will be an extension.
Restock your emergency supplies so that you are prepared for any future disasters. Include non-perishable foods, batteries and water in your stockpile. A reserve supply of medications is important. Keep an inventory list of household items in a safe place such as a safe deposit box. Keep another copy in your home. This will help you in assessing damages if you face another storm.
Information courtesy of Erik Braunitzer, writer for Douglas Elliman, brokers for NYC, Long Island and Hamptons Real Estate