Preparing For A Weather-Related Property Damage Claim
Posted by Sunshine, Isaacson & Hecht LLP on October 18th, 2022
In a perfect world, this blog wouldn’t be necessary. New York isn’t a common target of major weather damage – but it does happen.
We’re coming up on ten years since Hurricane Sandy hit New York. It’s important to take some of those lessons learned and make sure you, your home, and your business are prepared should you need to file a claim. We want to make sure you take the necessary steps before and after severe weather hits.
Document all property
One of the most important aspects of a claim will be knowing what property and value you’re actually claiming. Insurance companies are going to be stingy and won’t let you slip in a claim that you don’t have proof of.
Before you even know a hurricane could possibly be coming your way, you should document all your valuables and the condition of your home or business. This includes making a list of those valuables and their estimated value (if you have receipts then keep them when possible).
More important than listing out those valuables is actually taking pictures of them. Take a few minutes to walk around your home or business and take pictures in all the rooms. If you have items that are of high value that could be at risk during a weather event then take closeup pictures, as well.
The combination of receipts, documentation, and pictures of your property will go a long way towards securing your claim. Pictures of the condition of your home also help – especially if you’ve taken specific steps to secure your home against severe weather. If you’ve boarded up windows or moved outdoor furniture indoors to prepare for a hurricane then this will further solidify your claim.
Review your insurance policies
Unfortunately, we often hear from home and business owners who are surprised to find out certain claims aren’t covered by their insurance policies. It’s best to familiarize yourself with your coverages BEFORE an event, not after.
Review all policies you have and make sure what you need is actually covered under the policy. If you find out that certain damages from a weather event aren’t covered then you may need to consider taking steps to mitigate those risks or find a new insurance policy.
Contact an attorney before filing a claim
When you have a significant loss, it’s imperative to file a claim as soon as possible. However, you should talk to your attorney first. You’ll need to understand your rights and make sure you don’t slip up and make a mistake during the claims process. Everything you say in writing and verbally to your insurance company could end up being used against you.
At Sunshine, Isaacson & Hecht we are always here to help New Yorkers with property damage claims. Contact our team if you are about to file a claim or have filed a claim and feel like you’re being shorted what you’re owed.