Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim After Hurricane Irma

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have caused a massive amount of property damage in the U.S. and that means tens of thousands of insurance claims.  If there is damage to your home, contact your insurance company as soon as possible for an adjuster to come to your home and appraise the damage. Remember, in a disaster situation, someone may not come immediately.

Here are some tips for dealing with your insurance company:

  1. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the claim. The sooner the better. Be prepared to provide an accurate description of any damages. Make sure to get a claim number and write it down since it’s the quickest and easiest way for insurance companies to locate your file, according to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).
  2. Ask the company when you can expect to be contacted by an insurance adjuster. It could be anywhere from a week to five to six months, depending on the extent of the claim, according to HouseLogic, a website operated by the National Association of Realtors.
  3. Document your losses with pictures and video,take lots of pictures of the damage and of damaged items.  If possible, include the date of purchase and approximate value of any damaged items and collect receipts
  4. Keep good records of anything you spendto make immediate repairs to secure your home, as well as receipts for hotels and meals if you can’t return home right away.
  5. Check with your insurance company before discarding damaged items.You may need to show them to your adjuster but if municipality requires you to discard them for safety reasons, take lots of photographs to help with claims.
  6. Keep a claim diary.Note every conversation with your insurance company.  Keep track of dates, times, names and what was discussed.
  7. Sign up for text alerts.Many insurance companies use SMS/text alerts to notify you of the status of your claim. You’ll get messages when you first report your claim, when your estimate is available and when a payment has been sent.