Hurricane Sally is one of those storms that took a lot of folks by surprise. Partly because it was due to hit further west than it did and partly because it just sat and sat, and sat out in the Gulf dumping massive amounts of water all over the Panhandle, all while it kept pummeling the area with sustained winds of 100+ miles per hour. It was a strong category two storm when it made landfall around 4:45 am.
In the wake of this event, it’s important to remember some key points to make the claim filing process a little easier for those affected:
Take as many photos as possible. Those with the most documentation come out ahead.
Take contemporaneous notes (real time notes as they happen). Make sure to write down who you talked to, when you talked to them, what they said and how long they were on site.
Make an inventory list of all your damaged belongings. Write down what they are and how much it will cost to replace them.
Try to provide your insurance company with photos of the property before the damage happened.
Be true to yourself. If something doesn’t feel right or sound right, mention it. Ask to have an explanation in writing about what someone said or to elaborate their position.
Read your policy. If you have questions about what certain parts mean, ask a professional for clarification.
Make sure to read all the paperwork that comes from the insurance company or insurance company representative. Some documents are time sensitive and can put the claim at risk if not turned in on time. If you receive less than what you were expecting or promised, you can always submit more information for a better result.
Make sure you understand what you are signing before you sign it. Sometimes you can sign your rights away.
Remember, the insurance mechanism is just that. A mechanism. A machine – a finely tuned machine that has its own way of operating. And people work inside this machine, but have little wiggle room to maneuver outside the lines. Insurance is also deemed by the insurance companies as a way to lessen the blow of risk, not necessarily to make you whole after the risk you’re insured against has happened.
Far too often people end up losing their cool (both on the insurance company side and the insured side) due to overwhelming circumstances surrounding an event like this. If I can express one thought in the midst of this, it’s to remember that we’re all people meeting one another with all sorts of differences, prejudices, realities, backgrounds and life events that shape us as we are. If we can keep that in mind while attempting to communicate what we feel is important, and try to communicate in ways that are sincere to how we want to be treated (and treating others the same way too), then a lot more might be accomplished, roadblocks cleared and hurdles jumped over. You never know, the person who you thought was against you might become your greatest advocate and push your claim along to help it get settled.