In a prior post we discussed disaster preparations to help you before catastrophic event. Now we are three days after hurricane Irma, and we have some cleaning up to do. Whether you have to physically cleanup your property by removing debris or cleanup the damage done to your house by filing an insurance claim here are some things to keep in mind.
MAKING AN INSURANCE CLAIM
Any time you make an insurance claim you have to observe the terms and conditions of the contract you signed. This means you have to be open and honest when you fill out a claim form. You may have to give a recorded statement to an adjuster as to what happened. In addition, in rare circumstances you may have to give what is called examination under oath (EUO). An EUO, is a recorded statement taken by an attorney prior to a lawsuit. This is very similar to a deposition.
Typically, on a property damage claim, an adjuster will come out to your property and inspect the damage and make their own calculation of the value of your claim. If you are unhappy with the value of the insurance company’s valuation, you should consider retaining an attorney to help you with this claim. Sometimes, you may want to consider an independent adjuster to help value your property. But before you do either make sure you know what your insurance contract calls for whether it’s arbitration, mediation, or you’re allowed to file suit.
BE AWARE OF SCAMS
Now is the time when the vultures come out to take advantage of the situation. If anyone comes to your house and asked to go inside to view damage without a prior appointment, do not let them in. Often times criminals will wear fake outfits and flash a fake badge in order to gain access to your home in a state of emergency. Never let anyone in your house without knowing who they are and where they came from. If you are being pressured, call the police, but do not let them inside.
Likewise if an independent insurance adjuster comes to your house and tells you they’re going to get you money for your damages, and you didn’t request them, be very cautious doing business with them. The same could be said about contractors to work on your home. Many times fake contractors will come to your home get you to sign a retainer and promise you the insurance will take care of it upon completed work, don’t have contractors work on your home under these conditions without first talking to your insurance company. See this article.
PHYSICALLY CLEANING YOUR HOME
Here are some things to keep in mind when you are physically cleaning up your property. If you have trees down, or have removed trees from your home, mark the hole with a flag so no one falls in and hurts themselves. If you have trees around power lines make sure you hire someone who is licensed and insured and is qualified to remove the trees and not hurt themselves. You could be liable for any injuries on your property for those helping you cleanup.
Be safe and if you have any questions know we are here to help you.