North Carolina is no stranger to natural disasters. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and more have been known to occur. When they do, they leave NC residents wondering about the aftermath.
After any natural disaster, it is always a good idea to be represented by an experienced, local attorney. Rhine Law Firm, P.C., can speak to the insurance company on your behalf to ensure your claim isn’t unfairly denied and you get a fair settlement for your losses.
It’s important for homeowners to contact their insurance companies as soon as possible once the natural disaster has passed. Many insurance companies have disaster teams that will visit an area to get the claims process started, but the process can begin on the phone as well. Claims are generally handled in a “first come, first served” basis.
The amount an insurance policy will cover after a disaster depends on each policyholder’s limits. Property damage from wind is typically covered under standard homeowners insurance policies. Flood damage, on the other hand, is not. For example, if the wind caused a tree to crash through a home’s roof, that would likely be covered. If a hurricane caused flooding, though, homeowners would likely not have protection against it under a standard policy.
Separate flood coverage can be purchased through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program, so those who live in flood-prone areas are wise to obtain this insurance well before a storm or other disaster. This insurance takes 30 days before it takes effect, so hearing of an approaching storm and buying insurance may not cover you in time.
When vehicles have been damaged by a storm, comprehensive auto insurance will cover the repairs or replacement. This type of insurance is not required by the State of North Carolina, however, so those in vulnerable areas should make the investment in case a natural disaster hits.
When the personal property of renters has been ruined due to a natural disaster, they can recover the cost of replacing or repairing that property if they have renters insurance. All tenants are advised to obtain renters insurance in case of natural disaster, or another disaster in the home, such as a fire.
When people suffer significant property damage during a natural disaster, they often wonder if they can start repairing it right away. It’s often thought that if repairs are not done properly, or without the consent of an insurance company, it could invalidate a claim, but not necessarily.
Homeowners who want to repair their property after a natural disaster can make temporary repairs. Placing a tarp over a hole in the home, or covering a broken window with plywood is considered okay by insurance companies and can prevent further damage from occurring.
However, before any repairs are made, pictures and videos should be taken to document the extent of the damage. If you purchase supplies to make these temporary repairs, save the receipts, as you can often get reimbursed for temporary measures by your homeowners policy.
Unfortunately, some people try to profit off others’ misfortune after a natural disaster. People may come to your home claiming to be a contractor or insurance agent, trying to get your personal information. For this reason, it’s important to be wary of sales representatives or contractors who solicit door-to-door after a disaster. Anyone offering to help should be checked through the Better Business Bureau.
It’s also important to speak to your insurance company, which can validate a company or contractor, and also approve repairs before they are made. Only businesses that are licensed and insured should be used, and you should get several quotes before deciding on who will make the repairs to your property.
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“Joel will make sure you are well taken care of. He will fight for you and what you deserve and go to all measures to make sure you get it.”
Speaking to a lawyer is one of the best ways you can get back on your feet after a natural disaster. Rhine Law Firm, P.C., has extensive building and construction experience, and knows how to negotiate successfully with insurance companies. Call our Wilmington natural disaster attorneys at (910) 772-9960. We will walk you through the rebuilding process, and represent you so you are treated honestly and given full compensation.
Although our primary office location is in Wilmington, North Carolina we represent clients nationally and across the state of North Carolina. Some of the many areas we serve are listed below.
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