”It’s not going to happen to me, right? Besides, I have homeowners and auto insurance.” But, what if it does happen, and you’re faced now with filing a claim through a policy that was purchased twenty years ago? Did you have the coverage required?
When the unexpected causes us to be unprepared, we can be faced with devastating losses to our families, homes, vehicles and personal assets. Unless we’ve experienced a natural disaster before, most of us go through life believing we will never be affected and that somehow we will skirt the trauma and watch the news as it happens to “everyone else.” Some of those very people who believed it would never happen to them are now faced with recovering from what did happen to them just a few short weeks ago.
You know you need to file a claim. Now what? The first step is to call your insurance agent. Bear in mind, however, that a day in the life of your insurance agent is super-sized when everyone calls at once to file claims for the same disaster. When a storm like Hurricane Sandy strikes, insurance companies are stretched and pulled in many directions; there just aren’t enough adjustors at any one time to take care of the calls. Workers from all over are brought in to help. This could mean the person with whom you initially signed your policy is not the same one you’re dealing with today. Insurance companies are doing their best to settle the claims that have been filed so far. While it can’t be promised that you’ll be among the first paid, filing early could get you closer to settling than if you were to wait months before taking any type of action.
As we assess our surroundings and take stock of what is left of our homes, the very thought of filing an insurance claim is overwhelming, yet you know you need to have it taken care of before it’s too late. If you’ve never had to file an insurance claim before now, you may want to seek the help of a professional who can assist you with gathering your thoughts and asserting the correct information for the best outcome. Many of us keep our policies with our family attorneys, and scheduling an appointment is the next step when you are faced with the task of filling out claim forms. If you do have questions with regard to the forms, your attorney may even be easier to reach than your insurance company and, although your attorney may be limited in the advice he can give with regard to your policy, he may be able to answer questions to alleviate concerns and guide you through the process.
After you have filed your claim based on your existing policy, you’ll want to review your policy for the future. It’s possible that there are features in your policy that are outdated. Did you think you were covered in the case of water damage or flood? Not all companies offer flood insurance and, if they do, it may cost extra in an area where flooding is uncommon. Additionally, if you are thinking about purchasing flood insurance, insurance companies generally require that flood insurance is purchased and in place at least 30 days before an event. If you do find you need to change your insurance company, do your homework by investigating companies that are ranked the best among homeowner satisfaction surveys. You may be surprised to see where your current insurance company is ranked.
Filing an insurance claim is never quick and effortless, and making decisions on new policy coverage can be confusing. Both tasks can be addressed efficiently with the proper assistance and knowing that this process will take time. The idea that you or someone you know will never have to file an insurance claim as a result of a natural disaster is becoming a thing of the past. Rest assured, however, you don’t have to go through the process alone. Trust in the assistance of someone who can help make the task less overwhelming. Professionals like your insurance agent and family attorneys are knowledgeable and can help lighten the load so you can focus on your family and those who matter most.