Natural disasters can cause devastating damage like few other things. Natural disasters can do extensive damage, from wildfires to hurricanes. It is important to know how to begin the recovery process after a natural disaster. This will make a big difference in your ability to rebuild your life quickly and return to normal.
You want to be able afford to rebuild your home or fix it up if disaster strikes, regardless of whether you’re a first homeowner. It is important to understand the scope of your policy in order to prepare for natural disasters. For example, homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood coverage. This could expose you to danger if you live near an area that is prone to flooding or hurricanes.
It may be a good idea to talk to your agent about your homeowners insurance policy. There are many exclusions in homeowners insurance policies. You may need to add coverages by endorsement or purchasing a separate policy. It is important to know what your homeowners insurance policy covers in order to be prepared for natural disasters.
It is always a good idea to have a plan in place for when a natural disaster occurs. It can be difficult to know what to do in the aftermath. Bankrate has compiled a list of steps to help you begin the recovery process following a natural disaster.
You and your loved ones should be safe
After a disaster, your safety and health are the first things you should consider. If you’re evacuating before a disaster strikes, it is best to stay together. It is important to have an emergency plan for each member of your family. Also, it is crucial to know where valuables and irreplaceable papers are located. It might be worth keeping them in a fireproof box so they are easily accessible.
You can use a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio to locate local shelters and medical services. This will make it easy to know where to go when you’re in a rush. Don’t forget to plan for your pets. It is unlikely that your pets will be able to live in your home if it is unsafe. Not all shelters accept pets. Make a list of shelters that can take your pet. You should also make sure your pet has food and other essentials, just like you do for your human family members.
Claim a settlement and assess the damages
After you have returned to your home and all your family members are safe, you can begin to assess the damage. You can use your cell phone or notebook to track the locations that have been damaged. It may be worth taking photos. The extent of damage to your home will depend on the type of natural disaster that has occurred. For example, hurricanes can cause roof damage. However, earthquakes can cause cracks in your walls and foundation.
It is important to file your insurance claim quickly after a natural catastrophe. There are likely to be many claims so it is important to file your claim as soon as possible. This will allow you to begin repairs sooner. Include documentation and photos with your claim. You can call your insurance company even if you don’t know the extent of damage to your home. The company will send a claims adjuster to your case who will examine the property more thoroughly.
Find a contractor to make temporary repairs
You may have to temporarily repair your property depending on its current condition. You may have to cover holes in your roof to keep rain out, or secure doors that have been taken off their hinges to protect the home from burglars. Get multiple quotes for repairs. Beware of contractors who raise prices when there is high demand.
You should remove any valuables that you have if you plan to leave your home for a shelter or hotel. Even if the home is locked, thieves can easily gain entry to unoccupied properties. If there is the possibility that flooding occurs during or after the disaster, valuable items could also be at risk.
Keep track of your expenses
You should handle emergency repairs as quickly as possible, but keep all invoices and receipts from construction companies. These receipts and invoices should be kept safe until needed by your insurance company. Also, discuss the steps you have taken in case an adjuster visits your home.
Talking to an agent is a good thing to do when you’re preparing for an emergency. They can help you determine if your coverage covers emergency repairs and living expenses while you’re away from home. These expenses are covered by additional Living expenses coverage. This can pay for accommodation and any other costs that might arise while you are away from home.
If you have any questions, ask for assistance
Natural disasters can be stressful and overwhelming, but you’re not the only one. After a disaster, government agencies such as FEMA and non-profits like the Red Cross will often establish local centers in your region. There may be assistance available for childcare, cleanup costs and even mental healthcare.
Even if the disaster is not local, there might still be help available. Local groups may offer support and services following disasters.
Other resources that may be helpful to you include disasterassistance.gov, which will direct you to the closest FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), and the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which runs a hotline that can help if you are separated from your child during an emergency. FEMA also offers a mobile application which you can download to help prepare for disaster. It provides real-time information and offers a wealth.
Questions frequently asked
What time should I file an insurance claim after a natural catastrophe?
After a natural disaster, your first responsibility is to ensure that you and your family are safe. After you’ve done this, start the claims process to ensure it is handled quickly and efficiently. Insurance representatives may be available if you are unable to assess the damage to your house or are in a shelter. You may be able help them start the claims process before you even see your property.
What can I do to reduce the chance of my property being damaged by a natural catastrophe?
Your home may be protected from damage caused by natural disasters to some extent. It may be possible to buy a roof that can withstand strong winds in areas susceptible to hurricanes. Your homeowners association may require you to maintain your landscaping in areas that are prone to fires to keep fires from reaching your home. Installing an automatic sprinkler system to your home can help reduce the potential damage caused by interior fires. Retrofitting your home with an expert contractor may help reduce your chance of earthquake damage. Your best defense against potential damage is to be familiar with the local building codes and keep your home in good repair.
What amount of insurance do I need for natural disasters?
It is personal to determine the amount of insurance you need. A licensed agent can help you determine the right coverage for your property. Replacement cost coverage is a better option if you live in an area prone to natural disasters. It does not include depreciation and can help you rebuild your home.