Farmowners insurance policyholders have many questions following a catastrophic event. Those that have been impacted by damage to their property no doubt feel overwhelmed by the loss and the confusion that follows. You may benefit from the kind of appropriate information that has come from questions asked by others who have endured a loss whether from wind, flood, fire or other disasters.
What is the most important thing to do first?
1. Your safety is the most important concern. Do not return to your property until authorities have signaled it is safe to do so. When you approach the property, look for unsafe conditions, such as downed power lines, the smell of natural gas and unstable structural conditions. If it is safe to proceed, proactively shut off the utilities (electricity, natural gas, water, etc.) before inspecting the damage. Do not drink tap water (without boiling it for five minutes first) until you know the water is safe to drink.
2. You must take all measures to protect the property from further damage. Example: If shingles are missing and the roof is leaking, tarp the roof.
Should I take pictures of the damage?
Yes. Take a liberal amount of pictures from different angles before you make emergency repairs.
You may use a video/digital camera for this purpose, as well.
My home is too damaged to reside in. What do I do?
Your Farmowners insurance policy typically will pay your additional living expenses to reside at another location until repairs to your residence can be completed. The Farmowners policy covers events such as fire, windstorm and tornado. Unfortunately, even if you have a flood insurance policy, your additional living expenses will not be paid when the damages are caused by flooding. Keep this in mind when you make your living arrangements.
Contact your relatives, friends and church affiliates to see if they may be able to accommodate you temporarily. You may also want to seek help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Red Cross or the Salvation Army.
What can I expect the insurance adjustor to do when he or she arrives?
The adjustor will “scope” the damage, an important part of the claim process. An attempt will be made to determine the cause of damage – for example, was the damage caused by wind, flood or both? Next, the adjuster will itemize the property that has been damaged. You will want to make sure that nothing is overlooked. The placement of values on the damaged property will not occur at this time. Appraisals, repair estimates and inventories will be obtained later to establish values.
Often the adjustor will offer an advance payment on a covered claim so that restoration may begin and living arrangements can be made. Be sure to keep detailed records on how this money is spent.
Blue Bridle agents will do their best to help our policyholders with coverage issues and provide assistance in the claim process. Your recovery from a disaster and satisfaction with any claim settlement is our primary concern.