How and Why to Prepare Now For a Disaster Insurance Claim

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It is better to plan for a disaster now than after it happens. This is easy to do, and it will allow you and your insurance company to process your claim faster and more efficiently with less stress. It is important that you are the first to settle your claim. You will receive a quicker settlement and perhaps even more. The insurance company will want to settle your claim as quickly as possible because they are aware that they will soon be overwhelmed by the many claims they have to deal with. They might be open to being a little more generous with the first claim settled. They want to make sure you are happy so they can quickly close your file and move on with their next policy holders.

In the weeks that follow a disaster, there will be thousands of claims. How can you ensure that your claim is among the first to be settled? BE PREPARED! What does that mean? Are you able to recall when fire drills were held in schools and large offices? This was to ensure everyone knew what to do in the event of a disaster. Talk shows and the news constantly remind us to prepare for disasters such as fires, floods, and hurricanes. It’s a wonderful idea! We are now concerned with what to do after the disaster. This is the same concept.

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Read all your insurance policies. Pay close attention to what is covered, and what isn’t. You may not be covered for damage from flooding, earthquake, or an expensive antique or piece of jewelry. If you feel that you require coverage, now is the best time to do so. Don’t delay, look into it immediately. Your agent can help you understand your insurance policy if you aren’t sure. Your agent will gladly go over your policies and explain what’s covered. This will give you peace of mind and it will be worth your time.

All expensive or unique items should be kept in receipts. Photos are also helpful. You can also have photos taken. It’s much easier and cheaper to have it appraised now than after the item is lost or damaged. Keep several copies of your receipts, pictures, and appraisals. You can always have one of these copies at your disposal at all times. If you have to evacuate, you should keep one set. If you can, put it in a safe deposit container in a bank. You are protected on all fronts. Although it may seem extreme, I had a friend who was a Katrina victim and lived with me recently. Her home was destroyed, her office was damaged, and the bank where she kept her safe deposit box was closed for eight months. Although she could access her money at a bank branch, it was not the same as what was in her safe deposit. It would have been helpful if she had sent copies of her papers out to someone who was not in danger. A side note: Safe deposit boxes are not waterproof nor fireproof. They are stored in the vault so it would be necessary to light a very hot fire to ignite them. However, water can still get into the box so you might want to store any papers in zip bags.

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Let family know where everything is, and what your plans for in the event of a disaster. If you need to evacuate but can’t immediately return or you are incapacitated, your family can provide all the information they need to start things efficiently and do what you want.