The storm has passed and it is time to assess damages. Hopefully, your damages are minimal. Here are some things to keep in mind.

1)      Know what your insurance policy’s wind deductible is. Most policies have either a wind, named storm or hurricane deductible applicable to Hurricane Matthew damage. Any and all of these apply in this situation. This deductible is usually a percent of the amount of insurance on your home or commercial building. For a building insured for $300,000 with a 2% named storm deductible, the deductible applicable to a Matthew claim will be $6,000. With a 5% deductible, your deductible will be $15,000.

2)      Assess your damages, factor in the deductible and decide if making an insurance claim is worthwhile. For example, if you just have a few shingles missing and a few torn screens, filing a claim would probably not be warranted.

3)      Flood (meaning rising waters) damage is covered only by a flood insurance policy, usually written through the National Flood Insurance Program.

4)      If there is any doubt whether to file a claim or not, go ahead and do so. Claims from a catastrophic event like Matthew are not counted against your record.

5)      Hurricane damage (flood or wind) to vehicles is covered under the comprehensive coverage (some companies call it Other Than Collision) on your automobile insurance policy. Deductibles are usually in the $250 to $1,000 range.

6)      The best way to file a claim is by calling in the claim directly to the insurance company. The toll free reporting number should be with your policy. You will need your policy number. The companies have mobilized their employees and are standing by 24/7 for your call.

7)      Many companies allow a claim to be reported on their website.

8)      If you need help reporting your claim, your agent will be glad to assist – in person at the office or via phone.

9)      Understand that your policy requires you to take steps to prevent further damage. It will take the adjuster time to get to you so take the initiative. Call a disaster restoration company to help you in this process.

Henry Lowndes Jr.
CEO, C.T. Lowndes & Company

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