Saturday, September 3, 2016

Claims for Damage from Tropical Storm Hermine

As tropical storm Hermine approaches Long Island the first and most important concern is always to make sure that everyone is safe.   But once the storm passes, many people will likely turn to questions about damage from the storm.  Windows, roofs and siding may be damaged from the wind or projectiles flying through the air.  Wind driven rain may have caused damage through leaking roofs or windows.   For those close to the shore, the storm surge may have even caused flood damage.

Hopefully, you have insurance in place to cover and protect your home and the contents.  If you are in a flood zone, hopefully you have flood insurance.  Before the storm hits make sure you have your important documents in a safe dry place.  Don't store important documents you will need to submit a claim in the basement where they may be exposed to moisture and destruction.  Its a good idea to have your insurance policy numbers handy and have phone numbers in an easy to access place so you know exactly where to call once the storm passes.  There are a few important things to keep in mind when submitting an insurance claim:

  • Document your damage.  Photos and videos may be your best friend when dealing with submission of claims to your insurance company.  
  • If you pay for any repairs or clean up - keep receipts for everything.  
  • Before discarding personal contents that were damaged by the storm, make sure you catalog and photograph them.  Its hard to submit a claim for contents if you don't know exactly what they were.  
  • You don't have to allow the damage to sit.  You are free to begin making repairs or taking steps to secure your home and prevent further damage.  Just remember to document the conditions before you alter them whenever that is possible.  
  • Phone calls are fine to initiate and expedite a claim but you should always follow up in writing.   
Remember, if your claim, or a part of it, is denied for any reason, you have the right to challenge that denial.  When in doubt, contact an attorney familiar with property damage and insurance claims to get advice and find out whether the denial of your claim may have been improper.  

Vincent T. Pallaci is the managing member of Kushnick Pallaci PLLC.  His practice includes property damage and complex insurance claim litigation.  He can be reached at (631) 752-7100 or  

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