- Call right away. Calling the insurance company will put the claim on record and may get you some emergency help, such as a crew to pump out water following a hurricane or flood. If you are unsure how to proceed, call the agent who sold you the policy. They can assist you with how to file a claim.
- Read your insurance policies. Ideally, you would have collected these policies in a safe place beforehand. Now is time to get them out. This includes not just your homeowners, wind and flood policies, but also auto and even health insurance. You need them all because some policies may include overlapping coverage. Read the fine print of each carefully, especially the part in your homeowners policy that details your responsibilities after a loss.
- Don't assume that your insurance company will take care of everything. Be proactive and plan to be your own advocate. Make sure you understand the coverage you have and the deductibles involved when you file a claim.
- Inspect your home and property thoroughly as soon as possible. Inspect everything: the exterior and interior of your home, the attic, even a backyard shed. In particular, look carefully at the roof. Even if it looks solid, search for any evidence of leakage. Check the foundation for cracks or erosion, even if you don't have floodwater inside your house. Make sure that major systems like your air conditioner are working. Turn on all your appliances.
- Start a list of any damage you find and take photographs. If you have pre-damage pictures of your property and belongings, the before and after photographs can substantiate what property you lost and the extent of the damage.
- Make temporary repairs. This will prevent further damage to your property. Cover broken windows, etc. Stop short of removing evidence of the damage. If the insurance adjuster can't see what happened, they are unlikely to take your word for it.
Sawgrass Plantation Enterprises is Volusia County's most trusted contractor. Serving Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach Shores, South Daytona, Ponce Inlet, Holly Hill, Wilbur by the Sea, Port Orange, Ormond Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater and the Florida Shores since 1983.