Our friend andthe author of this pos, Erik Braunitzer, a writer for Douglas Elliman, offers Casa Latina readers excellent information that, sadly, far too many of our friends and familias need at the moment due to Hurricane Sandy. Thank you, Douglas Elliman for this much needed advice:
After a major storm, it can be hard to know where to begin when picking up the pieces. The Northeastern portion of the U.S. had two storms back to back with which to contend. This can delay clean-up efforts from the first storm and make the damage seem overwhelming emotionally as well as physically. These are a few steps to be taken to begin the clean-up process.
Once getting back home, check for damages on the outside. Make a list of all areas big and small that were damaged in the storm. Even if it is something small, like a missing, unnecessary piece of wood in a decorative railing, it should be documented. Later you can decide what is important, at first glance, document everything.
After taking inventory of all damage outside the home, do the inside. This means the roof and the basement. Check for leaks and holes. These are important and will need to be repaired first before the superficial clean-up and rebuilding.
Along with the physical list of damages, major damage should have photo documentation for the insurance company. Before making any repairs document the damage. You’ll need to decide whether you will file a claim with your insurance company and if you do, they need physical documentation. Doing this improperly might cause the insurance company to deny your claim.
File Large Claims
People who file many small claims against their insurance will find their insurance rates and premiums will get a rate hike. To keep the premiums low, only file claims that are very large. Claims that are only a few hundred dollars you might want to pay yourself so you will not see a raise in your premiums for the foreseeable future. When filing for flood damage, make sure it is done fairly quickly. Most claims must be done within 60 days of the damage occurring. Do not delay filing a claim.
Hiring Reputable Companies
Unfortunately, after a storm, there are those who will prey upon the victims. Any company that you hire should be checked thoroughly. Tree removal companies or roofing companies should be licensed and insured. This can be easily verified by asking for the proper paperwork before they perform any work.
Prepare For the Future
If during recent storms, you dipped into your emergency supplies, you should restock your shelves sooner rather than later. Water, batteries and other household items should always be kept on hand in case of emergency. It’s smart to keep all prescriptions filled, and the first aid kit stocked too.