What to do after a hurricane hits…

If your home or condominium has been damaged by a hurricane, here are some important guidelines to consider:

Contact Emergency Personnel (if necessary)

If anyone is injured or there is an emergency, immediately call 911 for the police, fire department or medical assistance. If you are the victim of a theft, contact the police and file a report.

Prevent further damage to your property

Safely and carefully do only what’s necessary to prevent further damage after a storm, such as covering broken windows with plastic or roofs with tarps to keep rain out or removing a fallen tree from a structure . Do not make or commission permanent repairs until an insurance adjuster reviews the damage. While it may be tempting to start cleaning up and throwing out damaged items after the storm, your insurance adjuster needs to see what happened firsthand to make you the best offer to settle your claim. Save all receipts.

Document the damages

If it is safe to do so, take photos of the damages before conducting any emergency repairs. This will make the insurance claims process much easier and will assist in expediting payment for covered damages. In addition to photos, keep a running, detailed list of all damaged items.

File a Claim as soon as you can

Contact the insurance agent that handles your primary homeowners policy and/or the claims center at your primary insurance carrier to file a claim. Then contact your Vertus agent and call the Vertus Claims Center. For those with an in-force policy issued on or before July 31, 2018, please call 1-844-573-9922 or email cat4home@lozanoadjusters.com. However, if your Cat4Home policy was issued on August 1, 2018 or later, please call 1-727-669-0140 or email mma@millsmehr.com with a copy to sstarbuck@millsmehr.com. When you contact your primary carrier, let them know the extent of the damages and that you have an inventory of your damages. An insurance adjuster will come to your property, assess the damage and determine the amount of your claim that you will receive.

Arrange comfortable lodging (if needed)

If you home is uninhabitable, you’ll need to find your family a safe place to stay while your home is being repaired. The “loss of use” coverage in a standard homeowner insurance policy typically helps pay for your family’s lodging as long as the damage is part of a covered claim. Check your policy or ask your agent to make sure you have this coverage and to determine its monetary value and time limits. Suffering damage or loss from a hurricane can be devastating, and recovery takes time. If you are prepared and plan in advance, repairing the damage will go much smoother.

If you have questions or would like additional assistance, contact your local Vertus Agent.