Step One: Prepare For the Worst
- For personal safety during a hurricane, identify what storm
shelter is available to you and prepare an evacuation
plan. Choose two meeting places: one right outside your home; and one
outside your neighbor hood in case you can’t return home.
- Make sure you have bottled water, a first
aid kit, flashlights, a battery-powered radio,
non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs,
eyeglasses, personal hygiene
supplies, and a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks.
- Make a plan for your pets. Not all emergency
shelters will take pets. Check with your local
veterinarian for help with a plan.
- If you need to evacuate your home, turn off
all utilities and disconnect appliances.
- Take proactive steps to protect your
property from loss. Install storm shutters or cover windows
prior to a hurricane. Be sure there is no loose siding on your home and no
damaged or diseased
trees growing over your home.
After The DisasterAfter A Claim Is Filed
After Disaster Strikes and Your Home is Damaged
- Make sure your home is
structurally safe. Be extremely careful inside your home. Debris may be
hazardous, and the potential for collapse may exist. If you're told by
authorities to stay out, stay out.
- Notify creditors if bills have been lost or
you're unable to pay.
- Ask your utility company to stop billing if your home is unlivable or has been
- Prepare to file an insurance claim by gathering all relevant policy numbers.
- File your claim as soon as possible. Call
your insurance company or agent with your policy number
and other relevant information. Your policy may require that you make the
notification within a certain time frame. Be aware, if a widespread disaster has occurred, the company may
set up special procedures.
- Be sure you cooperate fully with the
insurance company. Ask what documents, forms and data you
will need to file a claim. Keep a diary of all conversations with insurance
companies, creditors or
- Be certain to give your insurance company
all the information they need. Incorrect or incomplete
information will only cause a delay in processing your claim.
- If your home is damaged to the extent that
you can’t live there, ask your insurance company if you
have coverage for additional living expenses.
- Take photographs/video of the damage.
- Make the repairs necessary to prevent
further damage to your property (cover broken windows,
leaking roofs and damaged walls). Don’t have permanent repairs made until
company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the
cost of repairs. Be
prepared to provide the claims adjuster with records of any improvements you
made prior to the
- Inventory your home for damaged or lost items before your adjustor arrives. This will speed up your
- Maintain any damaged personal property for
the adjuster to inspect.
- Ask the adjuster for an itemized explanation
of the claim settlement offer.
- Be patient and assist claims adjusters assigned to your case. Small losses may
be settled quickly; extensive claims will take longer.
- Save all receipts, including those from the
temporary repairs covered by your insurance policy.
- Be wary of contractors who demand upfront
payment before work is initiated or payment in full
before work is completed. If the contractor needs payment to buy supplies,
go with the contractor
and pay the supplier directly.
- Get more than one bid. Ask for at least
three references. Check with the Better Business Bureau
about the contractor. Ask for proof of necessary licenses, building permits,
insurance, and bonding.
Record the license plate number and driver’s license number of the
- Work with a qualified tax expert to find out about tax breaks you may be eligible for because of
- If you have any questions or problems with your claim or insurance company
contact the Mississippi Insurance Department Consumer Services Division at
601-359-2453 or 1-800 562 2957.