Post-Irene Insurance Advice
Here's what you need to know to deal with insurance issues following the wrath of Irene.
Now that Irene has left, people all over Jefferson are in the midst of the clean-up effort—and it can be frustrating and disheartening. Picking up the pieces after a natural disaster can be difficult–especially if your property’s had heavy damage. Even if your home has been properly insured, there are still steps that need to be taken to ensure a timely response from your insurance company. Here’s some advice from the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance:
- The first thing you should do is notify your insurance company of the loss. Although you can do this by telephone, it might be a good idea to follow up in writing and create a paper trail. Remember to notify your insurer, not the broker who sold you the policy.
- Take photos of your property–both your house and its contents–to use for your insurance claim.
- If you’ve had to vacate your property due to the damage, make sure your insurance company knows how to get in touch with you.
- Protect your property. Board up broken windows to protect your home from further damage, burglary or vandalism. Keep your receipts for this! The out-of-pocket expense you incur for this should be covered by your policy, and would be reimbursed.
- Try to separate your undamaged items from your damaged items. That way, it’s easier for the insurance adjuster to make an inventory and expedite your claim.
- If you feel you need to negotiate a settlement with your insurance company, you may want to hire an attorney or a licensed public adjuster. Public adjusters, who are licensed by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, will help you take inventory of the damage, secure your property and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. They are paid out of the money received in your insurance settlement, and they represent you, not the insurance company.
For more information, visit the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.