For the vast majority of people, the limit of their exposure to homeowners or renters insurance is paying the premium and smaller losses such as a pipe bursting. But insurance is also important to getting yourself back on your feet after a catastrophic loss.
Step 1: Keep a Record of What You Own
If a tornado sweeps your house off the basement walls, there will be two pieces to the insurance claim: the payment for the total loss of the building, and the payment for the personal property that was inside the building at the time. Andrew Parr, an Allstate agent in Hutchinson, says one part is pretty straightforward, while the second is — well, not so much. He says the key to getting a fair personal property settlement is good records — and one of the best ways to keep it up today is to walk around the house with a video camera and record a look at each wall, inside each drawer, and so forth:
Keeping it up to date: I recommend that updating your video of what you won be one of the preparations you make this week during Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Keep the video on your phone and/or back it up to a cloud account. That way, when you’re overwhelmed in the aftermath, you don’t have to try to figure out what to list, you can just play the video and make an accurate list.
Faster Service After the Storm
Typically the claims experience is streamlined in the wake of a major disaster, and Parr says some companies will issue funds as quickly as within the next day after a claim.
First Actions After the Storm
- Make sure everyone in your family is safe and/or accounted for.
- If you are directed to report to a staging area, gathering point, or triage area do not leave without notifying the people in charge of that area your name, the names of those in your family, and where each of them is along with where you intend to stay.
- Act to protect property, if safe to do so and local officials allow.
- Arrange, with help if necessary, for an alternate place to stay while you coordinate your family activities in the aftermath.
- Contact your insurance agent or the Claims Line for your insurance company. They will have additional instructions and resources.
- If FEMA, SBA or other mass assistance areas are setup, be prepared to show ID for each person when they report to the assistance area.