Nobody can predict when a disaster will strike and how much damage it would cause. For those who are affected, seeing their home wrecked by a big storm or a strong earthquake is overwhelming and devastating. Here is what you can do:
File an Insurance Claim
The first step to getting your life back together is by filing an insurance claim. Most insurance companies assign an insurance adjuster to assess the damage that your home has sustained and identify what needs to be paid. However, if you are a victim of a natural disaster, it would be better for you financially and emotionally to hire a public claims adjuster.
A public adjuster will be by your side throughout the process. They will fight to get you a higher payout so you would have enough to repair the damages that your property has incurred.
Surviving a natural disaster is stressful enough so a public adjuster will do all the work for you. They will take care of the documentation you would need to submit, follow-up on your claim, and negotiate with the insurance company. They will ensure that you will not make any mistake that will lead to your claim being rejected. Most of all, a public adjuster will give you an expert’s advice. Having helped other people who have experienced similar devastation in the past, they can tell you how to return your life back to normalcy.
Document the Damage
Ideally, before a disaster, you would have photos of your property in its normal state. However, after the storm or earthquake has passed and you have made sure that your loved ones are safe, you need to document the damage as soon as possible. Take a lot of photos that show the damages and potential problems such as crumbling drywall or exposed power lines. This is important, especially if your insurance only covers certain damages.
Contact Your Mortgage Servicer
You may also need to call your mortgage servicer and let them know what happened. You may not be able to send a payment for a while due to the damages you have to take care of. Discuss what options you have so that you do not fall behind and acquire more fees or face foreclosure.
Apply for Government Aid
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, will be ready to assist you to get back on your feet. FEMA will be able to provide you with temporary shelter if you deem that your home is not safe to be occupied. They may also help with repairs and give you food after a calamity. If your neighborhood is heavily hit, a representative from FEMA might arrive and check out the damages. You may also contact the FEMA office in your area.
After a disaster, the first thing you may want to do is go back to your home and assess damages or recover your valuables. However, make sure that the site is safe before you go inside. Look around the property to make sure that there are no serious impacts to the house’s structure that may have weakened the floors and the roof. A local building inspector will be able to tell you the extent of the damages. The disaster may have also affected the household wiring so be careful with plugging appliances and turning the power back on.
Your and your family’s safety should always be the priority. Do not go inside your house if it will endanger your life.