Hurricanes on Florida's east coast are nothing new but when we get reports of a pretty serious one, we start to look at our insurance policies, battening down the hatches, and what to do after a hurricane. Here are a few ways homeowners can recover from any hurricane damage.
If your home is damaged what do you do first?
When it's safe to do so, make any temporary repairs to prevent further damage of possible. This might mean putting tarps over holes in the roofs or plywood over broken windows.
Document as much as possible to ease your claiming process Make sure you understand what your policy covers and take pictures of everything.
Limits of your homeowner insurance policy depend on property damage from wind, but flood damage may not be covered through a standard homeowners policy even though flooding is a pretty common effect of a hurricane. Homeowners should consider purchasing separate coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Renters policy may only cover renters possession inside while the landlord can ensure the building's structure. Any damage to personal vehicles from wind and flooding is typically covered under your auto insurance policy.
What might not be covered?
Lost wages, temporary housing, or money to cover living expenses while your home is being prepared may not be covered so it's important to understand your policy and have a backup.
Be aware of scammers. Scammers come out in droves after damage from natural disasters. You'll want to contact your insurance company before signing anything and only work with licensed and insured contractors. Make sure you get more than one estimate and get everything in writing. As for identification from sales representatives and never pay a contractor in full or assign a completion certificate until the work is completed.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA can provide various forms of financial assistance after a disaster but it must be declared a federal disaster first. Visit the disaster assistance.gov and enter your address and they can point you toward FEMA disaster recovery centers.