In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, businesses and homeowners are busy clearing debris from their properties. Many are unsure if what insurance coverage they have. Contacting your local independent insurance agent will ease concerns over what is covered and what you can put a claim in for.
Business owners can have losses that cannot be seen when looking at your property. Was your business without power which caused you to close down for a few days? If your policy contains business income insurance coverage, you can be reimbursed. You can even be reimbursed for lost income after your property has been restored.
After a loss, ensure your property is safe to enter. Shut off your utilities before power is restored to prevent any power surges and begin inspecting your property. Take photos from different angles of all damages before you begin repairs or clean up. Begin repairs needed to prevent further damages. Keep your receipts and invoices for an repairs you make before the adjuster arrives. If you have a loss of income due to the claim, you will want to contact your accountant for assistance in preparing the amount of loss.
After you report your claim, the insurance company will assign you a claim representative. During a catastrophic even, such as Hurricane Irene, this process can take a bit longer than usual. The insurance companies devote additional personnel to the claims department during larger events. Once you speak with the claim representative, they will assign a claim adjuster, who will make an appointment with you to come out and see your damages. The adjuster will itemize the property that has been damaged. You will want to be present when this is done to be sure that nothing is overlooked. The adjuster will not assign values to the damaged property when they come out. They work up the estimates at a later time. If you have laid out any money protecting your property and repairing damages, be sure you provide these receipts to the adjuster.
Also, if you have receipts for any of the damaged property, that will aid in the valuation process, provide copies of these to the adjuster. You will receive a final report detailing the value used to determine the property value. You will have an opportunity to review this report. if you disagree with the values used, you can submit further evidence that substantiates the property value to negotiate a more favorable settlement.
Suffolk County, along with New York State and FEMA have established a Disaster Recovery Center to aid residents and business owners that have losses or damages caused by Hurricane Irene. If you are seeking assistance, register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362 or online by clicking here. The Suffolk County Disaster Recovery Center is located in Hauppauge, and will be open Monday through Saturday, 8 AM to 8 PM, for residents and business owners needing to speak with a disaster recovery specialist.