Joseph A. Lombardo
Insurance carriers will be dealing a massive influx of policy claims in the weeks and months following Hurricane Sandy. For many homeowners, the physical damage is just the start of their stress – enter the insurance claim process. Making sure that you are adequately compensated for your policy is crucial to the rebuilding of your home and belongings if you suffered a loss. Here are some tips to help you navigate the process of filing a Hurricane or flood damage insurance claim.
Update/maintain an inventory of items in your house
Make sure that you have photographic evidence of everything that was in your home prior to when the damage occurred and also of the state that it is in following the damage If you do not have photographs of the items in your home before damage, take photos of them in their current, damaged state before you begin the clean up process. Attach photocopies of receipts or appraisals you have for those items with the photographs. Video of the damage is also helpful. Again, it is best to take any photos or videos before you begin the clean up process.
Understand your insurance policy and coverage
You should have a copy of your policy handy in order to make sure what it does and doesn’t cover. Some homeowner policies cover hurricane and flood related damage and some don’t. If you have purchased flood coverage separately, you should know what is specifically covered under each policy. Further, the State of New Jersey allows insurance companies to include a deductible for hurricane claims. You should know if you policy contains such a deductible and how much it is.
Make any necessary temporary repairs to leaks or broken windows
Once you have documented the damage, fix any immediate causes of additional damage. You do not want to do this in such a manner that you could possible cause more damage to your home. Your goal here is to block the possibility of additional damage. If you need to address the security of your belongings or repair ongoing leakage or broken windows, plywood boards or temporary barriers work well. Again, make sure to take photos or video before you begin working on repairs.
Be prepared for what filing an insurance claim entails
After you file a claim, an adjuster from the insurance company will come to your house and survey the damage. The insurance company will then decide what they will pay out on your policy. If the payout settlement seems too low, you may want to contact a plaintiff insurance coverage attorney who can arrange to have an independent adjuster come and give a second assessment of the damage. An attorney can then help build the case for an increased and appropriate compensation and assist you in the negotiation with the insurance company and interact with them on your behalf.
If your health or your home was affected by Hurricane Sandy and you are filing an insurance claim
Contact Lombardo Law Group, LLC today. Mr. Lombardo has been representing individuals with claims against their insurance companies in Hammonton, Atlantic City, Toms River, Avalon, Sea Isle, Cape May, Ocean Township, Brigantine, and every township in Southern New Jersey since 1993. If you claim is for damages, injury, or wrongful death and you need an attorney to file on your behalf against an insurance carrier, we can help. Similarly, if your insurance company has denied or underpaid your claim, we can help. Contact us today on our Hurricane Sandy New Jersey helpline: 1-(609) 418-4537.
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