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How to File a Home Insurance Claim After a Hurricane

By Jarrod Heil

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Whether a hurricane brings 100-plus-mile-per-hour winds, a torrential downpour, complete catastrophic destruction, or something in the middle, you need to know how to get your life back on track after it passes.

Filing a hurricane claim is a great place to begin, and we’re here to help you jump-start the process. Since companies have faster and newer technology than ever before, filing a home insurance claim has never been easier.

Let’s check out exactly where to start with these four easy tips.

1. Make a List of the Damaged Property and Belongings

First thing’s first, you need to make a list of everything that has been damaged by the hurricane and what kind of damage it sustained. Grab a pen and paper, or your phone, and begin compiling your list.

It’s much easier to document your damaged personal property if you make a list of all your personal belongings way before the hurricane arrives. Do not discard damaged items unless your town requires you to do so. If they do, make sure you take a picture of the items before discarding.

Your adjuster typically needs to see the damaged items to make an appraisal. Taking photos and videos can help speed up the home insurance claim process, as well as ensure you have a visual record of all damages.

2. Contact Your Insurance Agent or File Online

Filing a home insurance claim is much simpler than you may think. Gone are the days of walking into your insurance agent’s office to file a claim with a pen and paper.

Claims can be filed quickly and easily online with your insurance company or over the phone with your dedicated agent. But be sure to call as soon as possible to get the home insurance claim process started early.

If you file a hurricane claim online, there’s an easy-to-use, one-page form you must fill out. After submitting the claim with relevant information, you’ll be assigned a claim number immediately and be able to track your hurricane claim from start to finish entirely online.

If you call to file a hurricane claim, brief your representative to the fullest extent about everything that was damaged by the storm. If you need to stay someplace other than your home due to it being uninhabitable, inform them of your plans to make arrangements at a hotel or other location.

Write down your claim number or, if your agent is unavailable, write down the name of the person you spoke to.

Please remember to be patient when going through this process. Your insurance company will likely be fielding many calls from people who are in a similar situation as you and will be extremely busy during hurricane season.

Typically, claims processes are first-come, first-served. So it’s better to contact them as soon as possible to get the ball rolling.
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3. Check Your Insurance Policy

It’s vital that you know what your policy covers, and what it doesn’t cover, well before a storm comes through. Knowing things like flood insurance’s relation home insurance and if solar panels are included in your policy coverage, are extremely useful. The overall scope of your coverage helps you determine how much damage may be covered by your policy.

If your policy documents were damaged by the hurricane, you’ll be able to find a copy in the online portal of your insurance company or by reaching out to your dedicated agent. If you’re unable to locate these documents, your agent can provide you with them or walk you through them over the phone.
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4. Know Your Deductible

This is an important piece of information, especially if you haven’t sustained much damage from the storm. Many homeowners policies carry a $500 or $1,000 deductible, but most policies have a percentage-based deductible based on your home’s value when dealing with hurricanes.

For example, if your house is insured for $200,000 and you have a 5 percent hurricane deductible, the first $10,000 of a claim must come out of your own pocket before insurance kicks in. This means that any qualifying damage after $10,000 may be covered, so you’ll need to get familiar with your hurricane deductible.

The states that have enacted hurricane deductibles are Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington D.C. Click here to read more about your state’s hurricane deductibles.