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Hurricane Checklist

Hurricane Safety and Storm Damage Insurance Checklist (After the Hurricane)

About hurricane damage:

  1. Contact your independent insurance agent as quickly as possible. Let him or her know about your losses. If you relocate temporarily, let your agent know your temporary address.

  2. Make any repairs necessary to prevent further damage to your home or business. These must include converting breaks in a roof, wall or windows with plywood, canvas or other waterproof material. Do not have permanent repairs made without first consulting your agent. Unauthorized repairs may not be reimbursed.

  3. Wait for an insurance adjuster to arrive to appraise your damage. Insurance companies schedule adjusters so the most serious catastrophe losses receive priority treatment. Those policyholders are the most in need.

  4. Keep all receipts for expenditures you've made to temporarily repair damage or to estimate the extent of your damage.

  5. Prepare a detailed inventory of all damaged or destroyed personal property for the adjuster. Be sure to keep a copy. Your list should be as complete as you can make it and should include a description of the item and how many of them, if more than one; date of purchase or approximate age; cost at time of purchase; and estimated replacement cost today.

  6. Collect cancelled checks, invoices, appraisals or other papers that might assist the adjuster in determining the value of the destroyed property.

  7. If you feel it necessary, secure a detailed estimate for permanent repairs from a reliable contractor and give it to the adjuster when he or she arrives. The estimate should contain detailed specifications of the proposed repairs, detailed repair cost prices and replacement prices. Do not, however, give the contractor the go-ahead at this point.

  8. Take photos or a video of the damaged areas. These will help you with the presentation of your claim and will assist the adjuster in his investigation.

  9. Even if home or business furnishings and effects look like "total losses," do not get rid of them until after they have been examined by an adjuster.

  10. If your car has been damaged or submerged in a flood, move it to high ground and let it dry out. Do not attempt to start or operate it until thoroughly dry.

  11. Wooden furniture should be cleaned as quickly as possible. Avoid rubbing in abrasives such as ash, plaster or wall board particles that might have fallen on the furniture.

  12. Your dry cleaning establishment can help you evaluate the cleaning or restoration costs for clothing and draperies. Many professional carpet cleaners specialize in carpet and upholstery restoration.

  13. Metal objects, such as guns, drapery rods and electric motors in home appliances should be dried and rubbed or sprayed with oil to prevent corrosion. Radios, TVs and other electronic systems should also be dried out but not oiled.

About flood damage:

  1. Notify your independent insurance agent. He or she will assign the loss immediately to a qualified adjuster, who will call on you as soon as possible to inspect the damage. It will take time to process the huge number of claims, so please be patient. If yours is a serious case, tell your agent you needed priority help.

  2. Before you enter a flooded building, make sure it is not in danger of collapse. Let your house air out to remove foul odors or escaped gas.

  3. Be alert for holes in the floor, loose boards, hanging plaster, and other hazards. Remember that wildlife has been displaced, too. Watch out especially for snakes -- most are harmless.

  4. Don't smoke or use an open flame until you are sure it is safe to do so.

  5. Turn off gas at meter tank. Be alert for any fumes. Call your local authority if you detect fumes.

  6. Turn off the main electrical circuit switch. If it is already off, do not turn it back on -- it may be short-circuited. Be extremely careful to stand on a dry surface and avoid touching the metal handle of the switch box. Use a piece of heavy rubber, plastic or dry wood to open the metal door and throw the switch off.

  7. Pump or bail water out of the house and shovel out the mud while it is moist. Give walls and floors a chance to dry.

  8. Before the house is fully aired out, scrub all woodwork and floors with a stiff brush. to avoid streaking, always start washing a wall from the bottom up.

  9. Take all wooden furniture outdoors, and remove all drawers and moving parts. Clean off mud and dirt. Do not leave furniture in the sun or it will warp.

  10. Upholstered furniture should be examined, cleaned and dried by an experienced upholsterer.

  11. Clean metal objects right away, especially iron, which should be cleaned with a cloth saturated with kerosene.

  12. Wall-to-wall carpets should be raised to allow air to circulate. Draperies, linens and clothing should be laundered.

  13. Do whatever you can to avoid further damage and to make temporary (but not permanent) repairs. Keep records of expenses incurred in preventing further damage.

PLEASE NOTE: Flood insurance can only be provided in a separate insurance policy written by your agent through the National Flood Insurance Program. It is not included in regular insurance policies!

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