home insurance and what/how to claim correctly

I got severly hit by hurricane Wilma. My insurance agent has not called me back to advise when they will be out here to inspect. I need any pointers etc to help me get through this. FEMA denied me any grants because I have home insurance (which has a hefty deductible for hurricanes, then another insurance and deductible for the flooding, and another insurance and deductible for our cars). I have a mental note of some of the damage and am going to do a full list in a notebook this weekend walking from rom to room. I have so much damage I don't know where to begin. How do I know for sure if mold is growing in my walls and attic (which I suspect from the odors in my home they are), will the insurance company know about the wood damage on my roof, my back enclosed porch was completely torn down from the winds and rain, leaks from the roof causing spots in my ceiling to buckle. I can go on and go. I just want some advice to make sure I catch everything (as I hear you need to have the insurance agent get it all down when he arrives otherwise they will cut a check and close it as quickly as they can to prevent any further claims being found). I just don't know this process at all. Everyone has their own war stories and it frightens people...so just doing some homework. I will give you an idea of what I have found and then maybe someone will know more questions to ask me or tell me etc.
roof 60%of shingles gone, one vent blew off and caused a 8" round hole, plywood under the singles in some spots is weak feeling.
ceilings are stained and buckling in spots all over the house
attic had water everyone (insulation and some storage)
water that came in from the ceilings got on home computer, monitor, mouse etc., got water damage on some wood furniture, some base boards are buckling, also water got into some recessed lighting fixtures, front door is warped on bottom, kitchen cabinets got water damage from the ceiling
we just got electricity back after 12 days and my fridgerator has a foul smell (we located the smell as a drain pan underneath but don't know how to get the moldy smelly water out of it, will try again in the morning-may have to replace that unit which is 1 year new
just spent 2000.00 (tax refund) on getting my enclosed back porch upgraded, well Wilma got the whole thing and peeled it like a banana it is sitting in a pile in the yard (what we could find of it), and of course all the furniture that was out there is gone or ruined
cars have dings and stratches ALL over the paint and windows
pretty scary-some personal things got damaged also-baby books I write in for my kids that were stored in a hutch and some other items.
I am not sure if they cover living expenses from the hurricane and possible living expenses if I have to vacate due to unsafe living conditions wheich I fear may happen (mold or caving in ceilings) I bleached and cleaned everything I could reach and covered my roofs with tarps.
Well that is a list of things I can think of off the top of my head...so I would appreciate any help so that I know how to handle the insurance agent and FEMA (if they will reconsider me)
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This is Turtle.
The Insurance adjuster is nothing but a person coming to write a estimate of what it may cost and cut you a check for the least amount of money that he thinks you can get by with.
You do the work and keep all the recepts and exact cost of everything and when the job is over. you call him back and give him the cost over runs to pay. Now if you have a fly by nite insurance company, well your in trouble. If not they will pay the extra cost of the job by you keeping a exact cost total of the job.
A Estimate is only what they think it may cost and not a exact cost amount. there is the estimate and then the exact cost of the job. the estimate money is to start with and the total cost is to be paid when the job is over.
TURTLE
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get an attorney or an insurance adjuster to help you on this one.
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Do that at least three times. No matter how careful you are, you can easily miss items on hte first go around. Write donw every toothpick and matchstick. Back up whatever you can with receipts.

Open them up. It is easy enough to patch sheetrock so open a large enough hole in a couple of spots to check it out. We recetly had a flood where we work. One of the businessies in the building just removed 24" of sheetrock and insulation from the bottom of their walls. If you had any flooding, you may have to do hte same.

He won't know anything unless you tell him. Take photos, make more notes, get estimates.

You do have an obligation to mitigate further damage. You may want to try stopping hte leaks with tarps until poper repiars can be made.

Bleach solution. dump some down the bottom to go through to the drain pan.

I'm not a lawyer or insurance agent, but I thing that will be covered uner your auto comprehensive.

There is no obligation to accept and seal the deal on the first visit. You can hire a claims adjuster that is familiar with this sort of thing, but they take a hefty fee. Your agent may be of help too, b ut he is spread thin right now. Unless they are prepaired to give you the full value of your policy, be sure you can re-open or add additional losses if they are found.
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It's already too late but you should have "tarped" your roof immediately. FEMA will give you the tarp or reimbuse you for one you bought. Insurance companines want you to minimize the damage and they will deal with what you spend. The "picturtes" advice is a good tip BTW the time to call a roofer is the minute the wind stops blowing. It usually takes a few days before they get busy again because everyone is waiting for the insurance company to tell them it's OK.
DON'T WAIT!
My neighbor who called the day Wilma hit got his roof fixed THAT DAY. The guy next door who waited until the next day has a blue tarp and no chance to get rid of it soon.,
On 4 Nov 2005 19:13:14 -0800, "jasonandrobyn"

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snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net says...

Do you have recent pictures of the interior and exterior of the house? They will help you remember things that used to be there but are gone, and will help you document that damage is recent, from the storm, not old stuff you're trying to claim now. (Unfortunately, disasters do always produce a fair share of frauduletly padded claims.)
One possible snag: had you informed your insurance company of the improvements to the porch? If you have a replacement cost policy, and they didn't know about the improvements, your total replacement cost may be too low.
Also, since there may be questions about which damage is flood vs. hurricane, take new pictures documenting where flood waters reached in the house, so it's easier to tell which items were damaged by flood, which by wind/rain.
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snipped-for-privacy@phred.org is Joshua Putnam
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jasonandrobyn wrote:

First off, the adjuster you get may be an employee of your insurance company or he may not. When there is an area with a LOT of damage - more than the company adjusters can handle - independant companies are called in. They in turn bring in independent adjusters known as cat (CATastrophe) adjusters. Both the independent company and the adjusters are paid by on a sliding scale according to the amount of the claim...the bigger the claim the more they get so they are very thorough and generous. Hope you get one of them (high probability).
All adjusters will (should) thoroughly survey the damage. Get on the roof, poke around, etc. If you think they are missing something, ask. Nothing says you can't discuss their findings with them either.
It may be some time before an adjuster calls you. Two cat adjuster friends stayed with us last year while they were working central Florida claims...they were here three months, are now in New Orleans and I'm sure they will be there for many months.
While you wait for an adjuster, take whatever steps you can to mitigate further damage.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ....a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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jasonandrobyn wrote:

We got hit by 3 storms last year here in central FL. We had no where near the damage you describe, and qualified for a tiny FEMA grant, I think it covered the cost of gasoline for the generator and that's about it. My memory is already fading on the details. We did however qualify for an extremely low interest loan from the SBA (referred to us by FEMA) to make repairs and upgrades that weren't covered by our insurance policy.
I have a mental note of

Pictures, pictures, pictures! Keep everything together in a notebook, plastic sleeves for the receipts so they don't fall out. Note every phone call, every letter, every visit from an insurance adjuster/FEMA rep, repair estimator - all of it. Basically keep a diary of all of it, you will need it.

Our insurance adjustor was an independent and was quite hmmm lenient? in allowing for damages. Given the amount of damage to your home, you were clearly in the thick of it, and will not stand out amongst the neighbors. It's unlikely that your insurance company will nickle and dime you, however it's not at all unlikely that they will miss something. Ours cut us a check, but it clearly said in the paperwork that our claim was not considered settled in our acceptance of the check, and that we had up to 2 years, iirc, to submit for further discovered damage. I don't know if that is policy, but you can surely ask your insurance company for their policy. The insurance commissioner is quite tough on the companies after some of the games they tried last year. This was just my experience though...

Make your notes of all damage you see and suspect, take your own photos, then protect your home from any further damage you can. That is likely a requirement of your policy, it was for ours. For instance, if you have the means to tarp your roof, but don't do so, and have a rain storm before you get your roof repaired, they may attempt to not cover new damage. When the insurance adjuster arrives, walk with them during the inspection, with your notes and photos, explaining what you've already repaired to keep the home livable, and show your receipts. As they go room to room, make sure to point out anything you think they are missing. Ask them questions. Ours pointed out problems we had no idea might exist!
<snipped description of damage>

If you didn't document this upgrade with your insurance adjuster before the storm, see if you can find your receipts and any photos of it undamaged. Upgrades happen, it won't be a surprise to your insurance company, but you will need proof of your claim of cost if it wasn't a part of the house to begin with.

Do you have your home and car insurance with the same company. We do, but didn't have any car damage. At least it sounds like that's just cosmetic and can be dealt with any time.

That's the worst part in my opinion, some things just aren't replaceable no matter how much you get from insurance. :(

Check through your policy if you have it, mine does, many do. Finding someplace to stay might be the more difficult portion of this part of the problem.

Good luck and much patience through it all. Don't take any of it personally, you *will* get back to a normal state, it won't be like before you went through this, but you will feel put together again.
M
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