7 Insurance Tips to Begin Disaster Recovery Efforts
Hurricanes Irma and Harvey devastated many across the southern part of the United States. Whether your business was impacted by these storms or you’re wondering how your business might recover from such a natural disaster, understanding the insurance claim process can be insightful in the recovery phase.
Doeren Mayhew Insurance Group offers these seven insurance tips to help you and your business recover following a natural disaster:
- Locate all applicable insurance policies. This may include a homeowners or property policy, flood policy (flood coverage is not covered under a typical homeowners’ policy), an automobile policy (may cover damage to your car from flooding) or a business interruption policy (covers profits lost as a result of a disaster).
- Contact your insurer as soon as possible. Insurance policies require prompt reporting of claims, so it is important to act quickly. Customers can reach out to their insurer by phone, internet or mobile app to start the claims process. Provide your policy number, loss location, cell phone number and back-up contacts, if available. If at all possible, you should try to meet the claims adjuster at your property, providing it is safe to do so.
Once a claim is reported, your insurance company will either send you a proof of loss form to complete on your own, or schedule an appointment with an insurance adjuster to inspect the site and guide you through the claims process. As part of the claims process, the adjuster will review all information and your policy to determine coverage, and ask you to obtain estimates for repairs.
- Document all damaged property and belongings. Take photos or shoot video footage before attempting any temporary repairs. Generally, any damaged items should not be thrown away until the claims adjuster has visited. However, if you must dispose of some items, make your insurance company aware you have done so and photograph or take video of the damage before you discard the items. Your adjuster may ask for visual documentation of damages during the claim process. The more information about the damage you can supply, the faster your claim can be settled.
- Cover damaged areas that may be exposed to prevent further damage. Remove water-logged and otherwise damaged items from your house or business to prevent the spread of mold, but document them and do not dispose of any damaged property until your insurance company adjuster has had an opportunity to survey it.
- Keep a detailed record of all of the expenses incurred to protect or repair your home or business. Your insurance company may reimburse the expense of temporary repairs made on your home or business, so keep all receipts.
If your business is forced to close down and has business interruption insurance, you will need to provide information on the cost of conducting business from a temporary location, detailed records of business activity and a list of expenses that have continued while your business has been suspended such as advertising, utilities, etc. Loss of or damage to cars, vans, trucks or specialty vehicles, which can hamper your ability to operate your business, should also be reported.
- Collect business records. Collect any relevant business records you will need to prove the value of damaged equipment, inventory or structures that you are including in your business insurance claim. If filing a business interruption insurance claim, business owners should be prepared to produce organized records to ensure the damage claim directly reflects what would have been made had loss not interrupted your normal operations. Insurance adjusters will want to review supporting evidence such as contracts, orders, inventory, sales and more.
If you’re in need of assistance navigation the business interruptions claim process, Doeren Mayhew has a dedicated Valuation and Litigation Support Group specializing in assisting clients with insurance claims, including business interruptions calculations and property loss/damage quantification.
- Stay organized. Remember to retain the insurance claim reference number, adjuster and other insurance company contact information, photographs of the damage, receipts, repair bills and estimates. Keep all your paperwork organized so you can refer to it easily if questions arise.
Doeren Mayhew Insurance Group’s advisors stand ready to assist you with navigating the insurance claims process or getting your policies up-to-date, such as adding business interruption or flood insurance, to protect your business from future natural disasters. Contact us today for help.