One of the most devastating events for homeowners are natural disasters. These events are scary and the damage can be widespread and unpredictable. After seeing the devastating aftermath of recent tornadoes and hurricanes of the recent past, there are many things that homeowners can learn.
When natural disasters strike, some insurance agencies can create emergency response teams and alter their normal policies for effected clients. When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, there were many insurance agencies that set up temporary offices to meet with clients. These agents were also authorized to start processing claims without having talked to their clients directly. Because of the widespread devastation, the guidelines were changed and clients were able to resolve their issues quickly and efficiently.
The Lessons of Natural Disasters
When natural disasters happen, there are many things that go through the mind of a homeowner. There is panic and worry. As the devastation is seen and understood, there may be even more worry and panic because most homeowners see what they have to replace or rebuild.
Lesson One: Keep a Copy of the Policy Available
This seems very silly to some but it can be a lifesaver for those that have lost everything in a natural disaster. Homeowners that have a copy of their policy immediately available will have all the information they need when they call their agency. By having a policy immediately available, devastated homeowners will also know exactly what their insurance will do for them and how much help they have available to them.
Lesson Two: Assess Damage and Possibly Prevent More
After a disaster has struck, it’s time for homeowners to assess the damage to their home. This should be done when the area has been declared safe by area officials. In some cases, everything is a total loss. In other cases, there can be things done to prevent further damage. For instance, if there is a hole in the roof, homeowners should have a tarp placed over the hole to prevent further damage. This should only be done if it’s safe to do by the homeowner. If it’s not safe, call in a contractor to assess the damage and take precautions against further damage.
Lesson Three: Have an Emergency Fund Available
There are some homeowners that don’t like the idea of having their money in a bank or out of their physical possession. This is a habit that can be financially devastating for some. Most policies will only allow a certain amount of money to be reimbursed because of loss in a natural disaster. If there is a lot of money stored in a devastated house, it is money that could be lost.
Instead of having an emergency fund stored in the home, have the fund accessible through a debit or credit card that has national locations. This will help homeowners and their families to purchase the things they need in the event there’s a wait period for insurance checks to be issued.
Lesson Four: Keep in Touch with the Adjuster
Once the claim process has started, it’s important to keep in contact with the adjusters and answer all questions fully. Many delays in claims processing is often because there was a lack of communication between clients and agents.
Lesson Five: Make Sure Homeowner Coverage is Adequate
After a natural disaster has occurred and life is returning to normal, it’s important for homeowners to review their policy to ensure it’s adequate. This is very important because the biggest problem that homeowners have is because they don’t have adequate coverage. Even if there have been no natural disasters, homeowners should review their policy at least every 3-5 years.
Natural disasters are devastating events that can change the way people live and think. Although natural disasters are devastating, they can be learned from. Natural disasters can teach homeowners across the world what they need to do to ensure they can recover quickly and smoothly.