As Hurricane Ian pushed through the Lowcountry, The National Weather Service warned of considerable damage to buildings from flooding, high winds and fallen trees and branches.
If your home was damaged, filing a homeowner's insurance claim will help you get money back for losses or damage. Flood insurance is not part of a standard homeowners policy, and those with flood insurance will need to file flood claims separately.
Here is the process and steps to follow as you start your insurance claims:
Contact your insurance agent or company to report loss and damage as soon as you are safe
When speaking with your insurance agent, be prepared to provide your policy number and contact information. Consider asking them the following questions: Am I covered? How long do I have to file a claim? What is my deductible, and will my claim exceed my deductible? If claims won't exceed your deductible, it might not be worth making a claim. Am I eligible for an advance payment? An advance payment will get you some money earlier and be deducted from the final claim payment.
Your insurance company should send you claim forms once you verbally make a claim. Fill these out as soon as possible and return them to get the process started.
Your adjuster should then contact you within 48 hours of you reporting your claim. An adjuster works for the insurance company to review what happened and estimate how much money you'll receive. It may take more time considering local conditions.
Photograph or videotape the damage
Once it's safe, take as much documentation as possible of structural damage, damage to appliances and furniture, standing flood water levels, and anything else that may have been damaged. It's important to take pictures of appliance makes, models and serial numbers. Your adjuster will need evidence of damage to provide an accurate repair estimate. The more you can document the better.
Make repairs and clean up
After you are finished documenting damage you can make temporary repairs and take steps to protect your property from further damage. Be sure to keep receipts for what you spend. If you need to relocate, keep those receipts as well.
Make a list of lost and damaged property
Work with your adjuster
Your adjuster will likely visit your home to provide an inspection. They may need help from an engineer or other experts to assess damage, so be prepared for multiple visits. At the end of the inspection, the inspector should provide you with information about what you need to do and what will happen next.