Experiencing a home disaster caused by fire, flood, or other trauma is overwhelming. Whether you’ve lost all of your valuables or some of them, you may feel completely displaced. This is a life-changing moment and, unfortunately, you now have to deal with your insurance company.
Below are several tips from legal experts on how to handle this situation with your insurance company:
- First and foremost, make certain that all occupants and pets aren’t still in the home.
- Under no circumstances should you enter the home if it’s still considered unsafe.
- Call 911 immediately.
- Don’t begin clean up, no matter how much you may want to. Your insurance company needs to see the situation before you begin the clean-up process.
- If you must vacate your home without taking many or any belongings, ask your insurance company for an advance check in order to purchase necessities such as clothes and toiletries. Be sure to check your policy carefully on replacement value.
- Secure your home. If there’s a leak in the roof, be sure it’s tarped. If a water pipe has burst, turn the water off. If the insurance company sees that you didn’t do your part in protecting your home when it would have been safe for you to do so, this can go against your claim.
- File claim immediately. This is very important. Let the insurance company know right away what has happened. You may be asked to fill out a “proof of loss claim” indicating what all has been lost or damaged due to the disaster.
- Make sure the insurance company acts promptly. Don’t let them take their own sweet time or drag their toes. Stay on top of them and make certain they are doing their job in a timely manner.
- Keep a list of living expenses and receipts, when possible. This is important to show the insurance company how much more you are having to pay due to the disaster. For example, you may be eating out more at restaurants because you have no kitchen to prepare food.
If you’ve been a victim of a terrible home disaster, follow these important insurance tips and try to stay calm. It may be a difficult process, but eventually you and your family will persevere through this tragedy. And don’t be afraid to contact an insurance dispute attorney if necessary.