Ziff Law Managing Partner Jim Reed talked about how homeowners can be better prepared to deal with a disaster on a recent segment of Law Talk on a recent WETM-TV News at Noon.
Question: We have had many storms this summer, including some tornadoes, and lots of property damage in our communities in the region. What do you do right away if your home is damaged in a storm?
Jim Reed: The most important thing is document, document, document. It has become easier to document storm damage than it used to be. Document the damage by taking photos or videos; and copy invoices and receipts for items or services used.
The key thing after damages occur is to promptly walk around your home and write down, photograph and shoot video of the damage to your home and property. The more proof you have, the better.
You also need to report it to your insurance agent immediately. I always recommend to my clients that they get a local insurance agent instead of just buying your insurance over the internet. When you have a claim, your local insurance agent is your first line of defense assisting you with your claim. The insurance agent, because of his or her business relationship with you, should help you in the process of filing the claim and doing what is necessary to help you get paid for your claim. A good local agent who cares about you and your claim can be worth their weight in gold!
One of the things I have been asked about is, “What about this ‘act of God’ exclusion in my policy?” You need to read your policy, review it with your agent and you need to know, whether it’s wind or flood damage or anything else, are you covered? It’s critically important because different insurance companies and even different insurance policies within the same company can have different provisions on what is covered and what is not.
The most important thing to remember when you sit down with your agent is to be absolutely sure you know what is covered and what is not covered. Ask questions like: Is my boat covered if sitting on a trailer in my driveway? Am I covered if the creek in my back yard overflows and floods my house? Am I covered if lightning strikes my house and burns it down? In other words, try to think of the real world problems that might damage your property and ask the agent whether you are covered or not. Don’t leave the agent’s office without all your answers. And it never hurts to take notes of your conversation as to what is covered and what is not.
Thanks for reading. Now is the time to get your insurance policies out and do your homework!
See Law Talk segments at about 12:20 p.m. Wednesdays on WETM-TV News at Noon.
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