Homeowners living through Hurricane Harvey and Irma are just beginning to wake up. Exhausted, devastated with loss, these homeowners are recognizing that their nightmares are not over…in fact, their nightmares are just beginning.
Here are some tips on what homeowners might do to help mitigate their losses after these terrible natural disasters.
1. “Call your insurance company right away to get an evaluation to see if you can make a claim for damages,” said Kristin Sullivan, a certified financial planners. With insurance companies continuing to be inundated, those who contact their companies sooner rather than later will receive their insurance checks sooner rather than later.
2. Ask your mortgage services about any and all disaster relief policies that may be applicable to your circumstances. You may be granted a stay on your monthly mortgage payments and/or loan modifications. Also be sure to ask whether or not you need your lender’s approval to cash any checks you may receive from your insurance company.
3. Document any property and/or belongings that have been damaged with multiple photographs. Check the property for any structural damage (drones can be helpful for this purpose) and be sure the house is safe in which to live.
4. Homeowners are incumbent to prevent any further damage to the home, according to HomeLogic. Board up your windows and cover any damaged roofs to help prevent any further damage.
5. Homeowners may have to move elsewhere while repairs are being done. Credit.com tells us that emergency assistance through credit card companies may be available to help cover hotel stays and/or meals.
6. Keep any and all receipts for purchases made after the storm If the kitchen is unusable, you may be eligible for reimbursement for eating out while the repair work is in process.
7. Mold and mildew are quite common following natural disasters and they grow within a day of a storm. Both digest the organic material they grow and can further damage wood flooring, ceramic tiles, drywall, etc. Be alert to any discoloration and musty smells in and outside the house and the furnishings. Remove any things (rugs, furniture, appliances, drywall) that have been soaked with water. They will never fully dry and will contaminate anything near them.
8. Remember these words of wisdom from Byrke Sestok, co-founder of Rightirement Wealth Partners in White Plains, NY. “An insurance company can decline to pay if you are considered to have been pat of the reason for damages