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Insurance tips for restoring your home after Hurricane Irma

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, organizations all over the nation are pitching in to provide assistance. (We’re proud that Mylo’s own parent company Lockton has set up a donation-matching fund so the company and its associates can send supplies, assist in rebuilding and support relief organizations.)

Now communities are coming together to begin to clean up and rebuild. And individuals are finding out what’s damaged and deciding where to begin.

Damage from Hurricane Irma is estimated to reach between $70 billion to $170 billion, with only $15 billion to $65 billion covered by insurance. Here's some expert advice about how to get the most out of your insurance coverage.

If your home has been affected by the hurricane:

  • Be safe: Don’t go back into your home until you know it’s safe. If you can’t stay there yet, find your family a place to stay while your home is being repaired. Your homeowners policy may help pay for your lodging after a covered disaster (this is called loss of use coverage).

  • File a claim ASAP: Insurance companies often work on a first-come first-serve basis so it’s a good idea to get yourself near the top of the list. Then they’ll send an insurance adjuster to check out the damage (which means you shouldn’t really start fixing much until they’ve seen it).

  • Document damage: Separate damaged items from undamaged items. Don’t throw away damaged items until your adjuster has seen them. Next make a list. Some info to include: location, age, replacement cost, make/model/serial number (if applicable). If you have receipts, gather them. And if you have a home inventory, get it ready too. Finally, take photos of any damaged parts of the house and property.

  • Fix urgent repairs: It’s a good idea to fix only what's necessary until your adjuster can see what’s happened firsthand. This may include preventing further damage by covering broken windows with plastic or roofs with tarps to keep rain out.

  • Keep receipts: You can’t get paid back the right amount if you can’t show how much you spent. Keep all receipts related to the loss including hotel stays, replacement items, repair services and supplies.

  • Pick a reputable restoration company: LOCAL, licensed, and bonded is a really good idea. A lot of fly-by-night companies flock to areas of disaster and then disappear in a month or two. These companies are difficult to track down if you have issues with their work in the future.

  • Call 811 before you dig: Every 9 minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without knowing what’s down there! If your clean up requires digging or removing trees, call 811 and arrange to have your local utility companies mark where their lines are.

Lastly, it’s really good to know what your insurance specifically covers. Most homeowners policies don’t cover flooding (flood insurance is usually purchased separately) but do cover wind damage. That means that if rain came through your roof that was damaged by wind, then any related water damage may be covered too.

If you’d like to decode your homeowners insurance and see how prepared you are for a natural disaster, Mylo’s licensed advisors are ready to help.

Give us a call to make sure you have the right home insurance plan.

Thank you to Lockton Companies for the expert advice, and to Insurance Information Institute for the financial damage estimates.

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