When disaster strikes Ė Find out your options BEFORE something happens.
Before calamity is king: Your protection against a disaster is, as you know, homeowners or renterís insurance. Whether you own property or rent it, you must have appropriate insurance coverage for yourself, your property and your personal belongings. Check to see if your landlord has any protection against damage in such situations, though his insurance wonít cover your personal precious things.
Hereís what you can do before disaster strikes and damages your property:
∑ Make an inventory of all your personal property. Make a list of all model and serial numbers of expensive products such as a TV, VCR, computer, etc. Maintain receipts of these items as they prove your ownership. You can also take videos of the inside of your home to show which products you owned before disaster struck and damaged your home.
∑ Do you have photocopies of your insurance policies kept in a safe location before disaster could strike? Important papers must be kept away from the site of damage so that you can use them to save your property.
∑ Keep your insurance personís name and telephone numbers handy and away from the scene of disaster. Also, familiarize yourself with the details of your insurance policy. When it comes to your property, ensure you understand the difference between actual cash value (ACV) and replacement cost coverage for your damaged contents.
After disaster, deluge and damage: Contact your insurance company once disaster has struck. Supply as much detailed information as you can about the damage to your property. Your insurance company may put out the procedures for filing a claim on the radio, TV or in the newspapers.
If no one from the company comes to you once you have made initial contact after the disaster, claiming damage to your property, ask to speak to the claims department. To be in the thick of things, you need to fully understand your rights and duties. First, accept that you will be emotionally spent, so ask a friend to help you out with routine household chores.
Makeshift arrangements: In order to save your property from any further damage, make temporary repairs such as patching holes in the walls or roofs as soon as you can. Hereís a little friendly help on how to make temporary repairs to your property after the disaster:
∑ Get in touch with your insurance company for emergency money for temporary repairs to cover all damage to your property.
∑ Take photographs of the disaster and the extent of damage to your property before you began cleaning up and repairing it.
∑ As a property owner, it is your duty to safeguard your property against damage and disaster.
∑ Keep all bills pertaining to the expenses incurred due to the disaster? Donít dispose of items relevant to your damaged property.
∑ Before you give out your house for damaged property, ensure you get prior agreement from your insurance adjuster on the disaster.
∑ If your house is so badly damaged after the disaster that there is too much water all over your home, try to sweep it out and air out your property to dry.
∑ Take an inventory round your property to see the extent of damage after the disaster. Look for metal objects that might have rusted by spraying them with oil. Call in an electrician to check all electrical equipment.
Call in an adjuster from your insurance company to come to your home, examine your property and write out a report of all that is damaged or a written damage estimate for the company. Get his name and telephone number in case you need to contact him. Be sure to get a copy of the estimate report and keep it safely. Also, do not hesitate to ask questions if you donít understand anything. For further questions, contact the Division of Insurance.
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