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Hurricane Claims Advice For NC

Posted by Joe Brennan | Posted in Homeowners Insurance, Insurance Advice, Insurance Claims Help | Posted on 07-28-2010


NC Hurricane Claims - Floyd 1999In a previous post, “Home Insurance Claim And Hurricane Damage Myths” we discussed how expert storm forecasters are calling for a high-grade 2010 Atlantic basin hurricane season. The article disclosed how the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) advises insureds on the the best ways to protect their belongings and property from hurricane claims. In light of the fact that NC has dodged the hurricane bullet for exactly 10 years (Floyd 1999), policyholders of the state should be hurricane ready in 2010. We can’t remain lucky forever.

The North Carolina (NC) Department of Insurance gives hurricane claims advice for policyholders to avoid the potential of being cheated after a catastrophe and to address insurance issues after a storm passes.

1. Be on the watch for insurance repair frauds. Municipal inspectors advise that the majority of scammers tend to do business in this manner:

Following a storm, roofing firms learn from news stories what cities could have hurricane, hail or windstorm damages. They target all those communities and visit home-to-home, door-to-door advising home and business owners that their roofs may be damaged from the recent storm event and will require repairs or full replacement. As outlined by detectives, on occasion there is zero roofing damage and every now and then the damages are purposely inflicted by the contractor himself. In NC this can be prosecuted as insurance fraud. At a minimum, unsuspecting policyholders end up forking over a large deductibles for the new roofs they did not even need.

2. To successfully file a report about suspected scams, contact the NC State Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division by dialing 919-807-6840. Many people shy away from reporting suspected fraud. They simply refuse to hire or do business with such contractors, but fail to take the extra step in reporting their suspicions. This creates higher premiums for all North Carolinians as the costs for such fraud has to come from somewhere.

3. In the event that an individual suffers property damage to their home, business or motor vehicle, get a hold of your agent or insurance carrier at the earliest opportunity in order to organize a visit from an adjuster. The NC Department of Insurance will be in close connection with the insurers doing business in the state. The department should have up-to-date consumer hotline numbers available for individuals who need to get hold of their particular insurance providers.

4. Prior to working on any kind of repairs on your property, snap photos as well as make a record of damages. Concluding repairs or throwing away items only destroys or discards the evidence.

Safeguard your personal property from other damage by completing temporary repairs only, till your insurance provider could inform you further. Conserve all bills in support of parts obtained for any repairs.

5. If needed, continue to pay for temp repairs of tarps or board ups and keep the receipts and dates for each time such temp repairs are conducted… it’s covered by your policy. Many times other thunderstorms or storm events will follow a hurricane. Your adjuster may not be available for weeks or month after you report your claim. Additional storm activity can displace and tear tarps used during temp repairs. Continue to repair the tarps! Don’t have permanent repairs completed till the insurance company has inspected the house and you have achieved an settlement on the price of repairs. Again, removing your evidence of damages can be very costly.

6. If needed, rent provisional shelter (home, apartment, condo, etc.) In the event your home is uninhabitable as a result of physical damages (not from insufficient electrical power or water), most property insurance plans extend coverage for “Additional Living Expenses” (ALE) when your property is in the process of being fixed. Prior to renting momentary housing, consult the insurance carrier or agent to discover what type of ALE will be reimbursed.

7. Try to remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be weary of contractors who are willing to complete the work far less than anyone else. These fly-by-night contractors will not be around long and can leave you without repairs completed and without your money when they go belly up. Also shy away from contractors who are wiling to absorb large deductibles in an effort to sign an agreement with them.

8. Deal only with licensed agents, contractors, and agencies. Ask for copies of their licenses and certificates of insurance. Ask for references and call a few of the people to discuss how they feel about doing business with them. Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to disclose if there has been any complaints report against the contractor – and what type of complaints they were – are they pending or have they been resolved?

Quite a few of these suggestions for hurricane claims advice may seem like effortless no-brainers, however, basic points are easy to forget about during the mist of a catastrophe. Educating oneself and being aware of deceptive conduct could save you thousands in expensive errors.

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(C) Joe Brennan is President and owner/operator of Insurance Claims Group, Inc., a national independent adjusting, appraisal, and umpiring firm. We will answer your claim questions FREE as part of our FREE Insurance Advice and Insurance Claim Consulting Services.

Insurance Claims Group, Inc.
Joe Brennan
Ph: 919-669-9111
Fx: 919-573-9595

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