Top 5 insurance claims do's and don't's for storm damage

TAMPA - Attorney Charles Gallagher specializes in weather-related claims, and he offers this advice for homeowners.

1.       Plan Ahead: Spring Cleaning----Evaluate Insurance Needs

What is my term of Insurance?

Is my insurance limit sufficient considering mortgage and cost to rebuild?

Does my insurance cover sinkhole damage and to what extent?

Do I have replacement cost coverage (RCV) or do I only have Actual Cash Value?

Does my policy require that I specifically "schedule" any contends (jewelry, coins, currency, etc)?

Ensure policy is in effect before storm season

2.       Prepare Your Claim

Photographs of interior of rooms before storm

Video Walk Through of Home and Garage

Assemble/Keep Receipts, Warranty Information and Proof of Ownership

Keep policy, policy number and claim reporting phone number in a waterproof container

3.       Document Your Claim

Photos of all damage

Video of all damages

Price Replacement Contents

Retain Damaged Contents for Adjuster's Inspection

4.       Emergency Repairs

Policy's Mitigation of Damages Clause

Policy's Reasonable Repairs Clause

Cover Openings in Dwelling: Tarps/Duct Tape

Reasonable Repair Measures

5.       Cooperate with Insurance Claim Investigation

Insurance policy has post loss obligations

Report claim timely and accurately

Provide pictures, inventory of lost/damaged contents

Exhibit your property for inspection

Proof of Loss and/or Examination Under Oath

Failure to cooperate can result in claim denial

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