Merlin Law Group founder Chip Merlin, dubbed the “Master of Disaster” by the Tampa Bay Times for his post-disaster insurance work, today released a top ten list of critical insurance tips for victims of Tropical Storm Debby beginning the recovery process.
- Secure family, important documents and possessions, then contact family members outside of the affected area to let them know your current situation.
- Document personal and surrounding losses by taking photos, preferred over video.
- Protect against further damage. Insurance companies, unfortunately, are able to deny loss claims if future damages are deemed preventable.
- Seek alternative housing for occupants if your home is unsafe.
- Continue monitoring media, fire and emergency officials.
- Report losses to your insurance company, documenting every conversation in writing, including the time, date, and topics discussed.
- Guard against fraud by asking for license numbers, checking with the Better Business Bureau, confirming references, and seeking second opinions.
- Contact your mortgage company. Unless you are told otherwise, you will still be required to make mortgage payments, even if your home is damaged.
- In the event of flooding, turn off all electrical appliances (or all gas & propane), electricity at main fuse box, and shut off water at main valve.
- Be familiar with your insurance policy. Most policies exclude flood damage. To protect against future flood related losses, consider all risks.
“Debby has been slow and overwhelming, exactly the opposite of how recovering from her damage should go,” said Merlin. “Damage from such a slow-moving storm can still be quick and devastating – which is why it’s vital to document everything and start working with your insurance company immediately to ensure your claims are paid promptly.”