The FINANCIAL — Hurricane Sandy roared up the U.S. Northeast Coast destroying whatever was in its path.
Homes were destroyed, boardwalks washed out to sea and many lives lost in the devastation.
Unfortunately, while the nicknamed “Frankenstorm” is over, millions of Americans are still suffering from the aftermath.The extent of death and damage is still unknown.
At this writing, Hurricane Sandy is responsible for 98 deaths in the United States. Over 6 million Americans were without power after the storm and for many, it will be days before they will again have heat and lights.
Along with the power outages, they are faced with gasoline shortages, and transportation delays. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Hurricane Sandy’s proposed financial cost ranks it as the fourth costliest U.S. catastrophe, behind Hurricanes Katrina and Andrew and the September 11, 2001 attacks.
President Barack Obama has declared several areas of the Northeast as major disasters as a result of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
The disaster areas are in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey"Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster" according to the declarations.
This will facilitate disaster assistance for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Individuals and business owners that have suffered losses in those areas designed as disaster areas can apply for FEMA assistance.
The National Flood Insurance Program recommends that if you have insurance, to start your insurance claims process as soon as possible. As WebWire reported, they list three important steps to take if you have flooding from Sandy:
Call your agent or insurance company right away to file a claim and an adjustor should contact you within a few days. Be sure to have the name of your insurance company, your policy number and provide contact information where you can be reached, especially if you are not able to stay in your home.
Separate your undamaged and damaged belongings. Be sure to take photographs or videos of anything that is damaged before throwing it away. Also, take photos of any structural damage and standing floodwater levels. Make a list of damaged or lost items. If possible, include a date of purchase and receipts or a value for each item.
Your adjustor will provide a Proof of Loss form with is your official claim for damages. This form must be filed with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood.
Remember, once you are able to inspect your property, your insurance company should be notified of any damage.
Take photos of all damage and note all watermarks. Do not throw anything away before you have had a chance to document it.
This includes any food, clothing, or other household items. Take steps to minimize any further damage to your home and property. Cover roof damage with tarps, cover broken windows and avoid any further damage. Keep records of when your electricity, gas and water service was off and when it resumes.
As WebWire announced, the laws may differ in each state, but insurance companies do have to respond to their claims in a timely fashion or face penalties.
If you are unable to reach an agreement with your insurance provider, it will be best if you have this proof of damage to back up your claim.