In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Tropical Storm Lidia, many board members and homeowners are now left dealing with the destruction these storms left in their wake – it’s estimated that Hurricane Irma alone caused more than $62.87 billion in damages, and these storms combined killed hundreds of people. Even though these extreme weather events struck in late August and early September, the damage will take months to restore at the very least, and working with insurance carriers to meet these goals is a vital part of the recovery process.
While your insurance agent and adjusters should guide you through each step of making a claim, keeping the tips below in mind will help you limit additional damage and make the most of your coverage, whether you’re strictly a homeowner or you’re also a board member that’s additionally responsible for the community’s recovery.
- Immediately contact your insurance carrier. If you haven’t yet spoken to your insurance carrier, don’t delay any longer – file the claim! The sooner you begin the process the more accurately adjusters can assess damage and the sooner you can start rebuilding.
- Address areas that could be exposed to further loss. Any action you can take to keep losses from continuing should be a top priority. Examples of this include turning off water to a broken pipe in your home, or calling a contractor to repair exposed wiring that could lead to a fire in the clubhouse. Most insurance contracts or policies actually require this of the insured.
- Always take safety precautions around damaged property. While the above step is important, taking action isn’t worth putting your safety at risk. Call in a professional, take steps to increase your safety or keep people away from the damaged area if it isn’t safe.
- Not sure if something is covered? File your claim anyway. For most carriers, filing a claim where nothing is ultimately paid out for the loss doesn’t negatively affect the community’s premiums. Just ensure that the damages will exceed the deductible on file listed for that type of loss. So if you’re not sure, go ahead and file your claim.
- Be patient. These events were catastrophic and affected millions of people, so the damage won’t be repaired overnight. Unfortunately, even if insurance carriers are flying in adjusters, there simply aren’t enough of them to help every person immediately. The same goes for contractors – there are only so many of them available, and there are only so many hours in the day. Help is on the way, but everyone must be patient with the process when possible.
- Ask your insurance agent or community manager any questions. Take advantage of their expertise and ask them your questions. It’ll give you a little more peace of mind during a trying time. Document your experiences, learn from them, and share them with others in the community so everyone can be better prepared for the future.
By being proactive throughout the claims process, you can help your family and community achieve a smoother recovery from the recent hurricanes and tropical storm. These tips are designed to help you do just that.
About the Author
Bo Bond, CIRMS, is the Senior Sales Executive at Associations Insurance Agency, Inc. (AIAI) — the agency dedicated to the insurance needs of community associations. Bo is a member of CAI and Independent Insurance Agents of Texas. He obtained his CIRMS designation from CAI National as a distinguished insurance professional in the community association industry. Bo is licensed in more than 30 states and strives to educate board members and community managers about the insurance decisions they make on behalf of their communities.More Content by Bo Bond