As Hurricane Lee approaches New England, it is crucial for homeowners to take the necessary steps to protect their homes and ensure they receive proper compensation from their insurance companies. Vince Perri, a commercial claims advocate and public adjuster, has provided valuable advice on how homeowners can navigate the insurance claims process.
One important aspect to consider is policy exclusions. Homeowners should be aware that standard homeowners insurance typically does not cover certain events such as flooding, earthquakes, termites, mold, or normal wear and tear. Perri advises homeowners to carefully review their policies and look for any exclusions that may prevent them from receiving coverage. It is essential to be aware of potential exclusions like a “hurricane exclusion” or a “water damage exclusion” that might affect the coverage of damages.
In the event of a storm causing damage to your home, Perri emphasizes the importance of documenting the damage thoroughly. Taking numerous photos and videos during and after the storm is crucial. By doing this, homeowners can provide substantial evidence to the insurance adjuster of the extent of the damage. Failure to document the damage before cleaning it up may result in receiving less compensation than what is deserved.
Perri urges homeowners to never accept the first offer from their insurance company. Typically, insurance adjusters present lowball offers initially, aiming to pay as little as possible for repairs. To counter this, homeowners are advised to hire an expert such as a public adjuster or a contractor to evaluate the initial estimate and determine if they can receive more compensation. In case the insurance company still denies proper compensation, filing an appraisal can be a viable resolution. Appraisals allow homeowners to dispute the insurance company’s offer and demand a fair assessment of the damages.
When facing storm damage, it is essential to protect your home from further deterioration. Once the damage has been recorded, homeowners must take immediate action to prevent additional weather-related issues. For instance, if a fallen tree has caused a hole in the roof, it is advised to repair the damage promptly instead of waiting for the insurance company to inspect it. Neglecting to protect the home from further damage could invalidate claims for subsequent damages that are not directly related to the storm.
It is crucial for policyholders to stay connected with their insurance agents and review their policies regularly. At least once a year, homeowners should contact their agents to inquire about any endorsements, policy changes, or modifications that may have occurred since their last conversation. This ensures that homeowners are informed about any modifications in coverage and prevents surprises when filing a claim. Perri advises homeowners to be proactive and stay informed about any updates or changes in their policies.
Homeowners should also be aware that flood insurance is separate from their homeowners’ insurance policy. FEMA offers flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. While flood insurance may have limitations in terms of payouts, it is essential for homeowners in flood-prone areas to consider obtaining this additional coverage to protect their homes adequately.
As Hurricane Lee approaches New England, homeowners must take the necessary precautions to safeguard their properties. By being proactive, staying informed about policy changes, documenting damage thoroughly, and seeking expert advice when needed, homeowners can ensure they receive the compensation they deserve from their insurance companies.