In Case of Emergency: What to Do After a Natural Disaster
It’s something no one ever wants to have to deal with, but catastrophes happen. Knowing what to do in the case of an accident or emergency can make the problem significantly less stressful to deal with and can help cut down on the time it takes to assess the damages and get started on repairs.
The Best Offense Is a Good Defense
The best thing you can do for yourself is to know what you’re working with. Be sure you are familiar with and fully understand your insurance policy. Know that coverage for some natural disasters must be purchased separately, so if you live in an at-risk area, you’ll want to be sure you’re covered.
You’ll also want to be sure you’ve thoroughly documented all your belongings. Making a list is the best way to do this and it’s even a good idea to have photos and videos of your home and possessions. Keep a copy of this list and copies of all important documents (including your insurance policy) in a safe place outside of your home, like a safety deposit box.
It is also important that you and your family are familiar with the emergency procedures you may need to use, such as knowing the safest place to hide during a tornado or the best ways to exit your home in case of a fire. If you live somewhere way evacuation is a possibility, know several safe routes in case one is closed off or blocked.
Dealing with the Aftermath
After a disaster, the first step to take is making sure you and your family are physically unharmed. Call emergency services if someone has been injured and needs medical attention.
If you and your loved ones are safe, you’ll want to get in touch with your insurance company right away. Answer any questions from your insurance company as thoroughly as possible to help prevent future complications.
After speaking with your insurance provider, you want to document as much of the damage as possible by taking photos and videos of your home. It is also important that you take any necessary steps to prevent further damage, such as shutting off utilities and performing temporary repairs. If you do need to make some temporary repairs to your home, be sure to document what the property looked like before these repairs were done. Save any receipts you may have for reimbursement.
Many insurance companies provide coverage for displacement. If your home is damaged to the point of being unlivable, talk to your insurance agent to see what kind of accommodations they cover.
Your insurance company will most likely send an adjuster to assess the damages to your home. It is a good idea to be physically present during this assessment if possible, as you know your home better than anyone else and may be able to point out unseen damages. Additionally, you’ll want to get the name and contact number of the adjuster in case you need to contact them again in the future.
Ask for Help
Dealing with the aftermath of a disaster can be very distressing and confusing. If you’re uncertain about what to do, or you’re simply overwhelmed, it can be a good idea to bring in a third party. A public adjuster will be able to help you assess the damage, fully understand your insurance policy, and make sure that your insurance company is giving you the best compensation possible. Many insurance adjusters have a particular area of expertise, so you’ll want to be sure the person you’re working with is experienced in dealing with similar situations. You should also verify that the public adjuster is licensed to work in your state and it is always a good idea to request references. Not all public adjusters are created equal, but finding a good one doesn’t have to be difficult.
If you’re struggling to get the compensation you need to rebuild and move on, hiring a public adjuster can be the best way to deal with a stubborn insurance company that refuses to pay out in full. For anyone in Texas, including Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, who is struggling with insurance after a disaster, Claims Mate can help pair you with an experienced and licensed public adjuster in your area.