Six hurricanes made landfall in the United States in the year 2020. Hurricanes may impact millions of Americans each year, destroying homes and causing injuries and deaths.
Source: NOAA National Hurricane Center
After a hurricane passes through, you need to know what to do. There are dangers that exist even after the storm is over. In addition, there are things that you can do to begin to gather evidence to make an insurance claim.
From our experienced insurance claim lawyers, here is what to do after a hurricane passes.
9 Steps to Take After a Hurricane Passes
1. Take care of your immediate safety
When it comes to the aftermath of a hurricane, the most important thing is securing your physical safety. Here are some steps to take to ensure that you don’t suffer from additional harm:
- Stay away from water. Flooding can continue to rise following a hurricane, and currents can be unexpectedly strong. Never attempt to drive through floodwater.
- Don’t use an electrical device if there is any possibility that it is wet
- Use flashlights if the power is out. Candles can start a fire.
- Watch for downed electrical wires and avoid them. Always assume that a wire is carrying electricity.
- Following a hurricane, public resources are stretched thin. Be wary of looting and burglaries, and always have situational awareness.
2. Create a record of what’s damaged
Part of receiving a good result for your hurricane damage claim is proving what damage you have and that it is from the hurricane. Survey the scene by taking photos and videos. Go room by room and document what has happened. Also, look at the outside and document that, too.
As soon as you can, inventory what has been damaged. You will create additional documentation for your insurance claim later. For now, it’s important to create a record of how the scene looked immediately after the hurricane.
3. Report the damage to the insurance company
The insurance company is going to have a lot of claims in a short period of time. The sooner you start your claim, the faster you will have a resolution. You can usually report the damage to the insurance company online, through an app, or by phone.
You won’t fully complete the claim right now, but it’s important to start the process and notify them that you have damages.
4. Take interim measures to stop additional damage to your home
There may be things that you can do to stop the damage to your property from getting worse. For example, you may put up a tarp to prevent water from further damaging your home. Don’t undertake major, long-term repairs before talking to the insurance company, but you should stop the damage from worsening by taking reasonable measures to secure your property.
5. Prevent theft
Looting is an ongoing concern after a hurricane. Be sure to take appropriate measures to secure valuables to prevent theft.
6. Dry out what you can
Water damage is perhaps the most significant problem from a hurricane. Pull up wet carpet and do what you can to dry it out. Ventilate your home as much as you can. Take measures to clean and dry personal property like wood furniture, bedding, rugs, and electronics.
Some of these items may be salvageable. It depends on the extent of the damage. Items should be carefully evaluated and serviced, if needed, before being placed back into use, especially anything electronic.
7. Keep records of repairs
In the days and weeks following the hurricane, you will proceed to make repairs. As you proceed, keep records. Accurate record-keeping can save you time in the insurance claims process and ensure that you get a fair resolution to your claim. You may need preapproval from the insurance company before incurring expenses for repairs.
8. Be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning
In the aftermath of a hurricane, you may need to take temporary and emergency measures. These measures can pose risks. For example, generator use and camp stoves may create a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Use a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector any time that you’re using a generator. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, leave immediately and call 911.
9. Take care of health and hygiene
Your personal health and hygiene are important after a hurricane. It may be an afterthought, but be sure to drink water that is safe. ensure that the food you are eating is unspoiled, especially if your refrigerator hasn’t had power. Take care to wash your hands and take care of any minor wounds to prevent infection.
When disaster strikes, we strike back. The Insurance Claim HQ, powered by Hair Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, represents individuals in holding insurance companies accountable. Contact us today to talk about your case.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.