How to File an Insurance Claim for Hurricane Irene


The "Coastal Evacuation Route" sign is seen in Rockaway, New York, August 26, 2011. New York City on Friday ordered the evacuation of more than 250,000 people and prepared to shut down its entire mass transit system, both unprecedented ... measures ahead of the expected battering from Hurricane Irene. The powerful and unusually large storm trudged up the U.S. East Coast on Friday, threatening 55 million people including more than 8 million in New York City, which was expecting heavy winds late on Saturday or early on Sunday. REUTERS/Allison Joyce (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT DISASTER) (Reuters)

Whether your loss is minimal or significant, you want to be sure you receive the insurance compensation to which you're entitled. You also want to help speed along your own claim. Here are tips for doing that.

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Document your damage: Take photos and start to make an inventory of your losses.

Check your home insurance policy to verify your deductible; that's the part of damage costs that will be deducted from your claim payment.

Contact your insurance agent to start the claims process. Your agent will schedule an insurance adjuster to come evaluate your damage. Remember that large claims will take priority from the adjusters.

If you don't know your agent's number, here's a list of insurance company claims-filing phone numbers from the Insurance Information Institute.

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Follow the insurance adjuster's instructions, which may include getting a detailed estimate for damage repair. Or your adjuster might recommend one of your insurer's preferred providers for repair, depending on the nature of your damage. You may be assigned more than one adjuster; for example, there may be an adjuster for structural damage and an adjuster for contents damage.

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If your home is uninhabitable, home insurance will cover your additional living expenses, such as hotel and restaurant bills. It's important to keep all receipts for these expenses.

Continue to collect material to document your loss, including photos, receipts and your inventory of damaged items.

If you're facing a significant loss in your home, consider hiring a public insurance adjuster. These adjusters work for you, not the insurance company, and can help you sort out all the claims paperwork, work with the insurance company adjusters and speed up your claims process. Here's more on how to hire a public insurance adjuster.

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How to file an insurance claim for Hurricane Irene

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