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
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
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
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)
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.
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,
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
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
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.
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"
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
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.
email@example.com is Joshua Putnam
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
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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
<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
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.
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