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Insurance and the aftermath of a disaster

Ask your insurance company if they have a continuity of operations plan. This is a plan to spell out how the company will keep their business up and running during a natural or man-made disaster. Don’t assume that you have flood insurance or enough insurance to cover what you have accumulated. Update your insurance information yearly so that it will reflect your possessions.

Before a disaster

  • Organize important documents
  • Take notes when you speak to your agent
  • Make a file and place insurance policies, property deeds, mortgage and other major purchases in a safety deposit box or with a relative in another state that you trust.
  • Take pictures or videos of all of your belongings, your home (inside and outside)
  • Include storage facilities that you rent

During a disaster

If public safety is asking you to evacuate, leave immediately. If you have your file full of important papers in reach then take that with you. If not, the most important thing is to keep your family and pets safe (first and foremost).

After a disaster

  • Know your rights
  • Read your insurance policy
  • Contact your insurance company immediately
  • Put your losses in writing, keep a copy and send a copy to your insurance company
  • Take pictures of damaged property
  • Take detailed notes anytime you speak with your insurance company along with the person’s name that you spoke with and date it. Record what you said and what they said
  • Keep a copy of all paperwork
  • Keep receipts and records of everything you buy due to the disaster
  • Make a list of all damages
  • Estimate the value both replacement cost and what it would cost to buy it new
  • Have valuables appraised
  • Get approval from insurance company for rep
  • Take your time and don’t accept anything that does not seem fair
  • Do not sign anything until you clearly understand what it says

If you have a dispute with your insurance company you may need to hire a lawyer to protect your rights. You can also file a complaint to your local regulatory commission. Each state has its own regulations so you will have to look by the state in which you reside.

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