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Posted: September 11, 2017

Hurricane Irma damage: 4 tips for dealing with insurance claims

By Jennifer Sorentrue, Palm Beach Post

As Hurricane Irma battered Florida on Sunday and other parts of the Southeast on Monday, the Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier offered these 4 tips for residents whose property has been damaged as a result of the storm.

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1. Locate all applicable insurance policies. This may include a homeowners’ policy, flood policy (flood coverage is not covered under a typical homeowners’ policy and is separate coverage) and an automobile policy (may cover damage to your car from flooding).

2. Document all damaged property and belongings. Take photos or shoot video footage before attempting any temporary repairs. When you file an insurance claim, you may be asked for visual documentation of damages. A photographic home inventory is a handy resource for this situation. A free smartphone app developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners called “MyHome” can help you take and store a room-by-room log of photos.

Mike Stocker/AP
Debris from a sailboat that crashed, then smashed into the Dinner Key Marina in Miami, on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. 

3. Contact your insurance company or insurance agent as soon as possible to report damages.

Insurance policies require prompt reporting of claims, so it is important to act as soon as possible.

>> Related: Hurricane Irma: Live updates

4. Cover damaged areas that may be exposed to the elements in order to prevent further damage.

Your insurance company may reimburse the expense of these temporary repairs, so keep all receipts. Remove water-logged and otherwise damaged items from your house to prevent the spread of mold, but document them and do not dispose of any damaged property until your insurance company adjuster has had an opportunity to survey it.

>> Related: Post-Hurricane Erma destruction: 10 tips for right after storm passes

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