Hurricane Dorian: How to Prepare Your Home Insurance Claim

By Hayley Vesh

As Hurricane Dorian dissipates and moves towards the U.S., communities in the Maritimes are tallying up the damage left behind in its wake.

Homeowners will be looking to submit insurance claims for water damage and flooding, trees falling on homes, wind damage, and even spoiled food. The entire process can be overwhelming, especially for those whose homes may be temporarily uninhabitable.

Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), reassures homeowners, “We know is that there has been significant damage across the region, and a lot of families have had their lives disrupted. When you are able to call, your insurer is ready to hear the details of your claim."

Assessing Damage

When assessing damage to your home, property, or car, the IBC reminds policyholders that they should take the necessary steps only when it is safe to do so. Start preparing your insurance claim by:

  • Assessing and documenting the damage: Take photos of all the damage caused by the storm, no matter how insignificant you may think it is. This could help you prove your claim or receive compensation for coverage you weren’t aware of.
  • Calling your insurance: Call your insurance representative and put your name in the queue. Depending on the damage you may have to wait for more serious claims to be handled first.
  • Listing all damages: Provide a list of all damaged or destroyed items to your insurance company. This way they can start understanding the extent of your claim.
  • Assembling key documentation: When possible, assemble photos, receipts and warranties. This can help assess the value of your items as well as verify proof of purchase. Keep damaged items, unless they pose a health risk, until after your claim has been approved.
  • Inquiring about living expenses: If your home was deemed unfit to live in after the storm, your home insurance policy may cover living expenses. Check with your insurance provider to see if the cost of a hotel/motel is included in your policy.
  • Preventing further damage: It may take some time for the damage to your home to be repaired. Try to prevent further damage in the meantime. For example, cover areas where water may enter your home and dry items that may be at risk of mold growth.

Reporting Damage

Dean told the CBC that, “The claims process will start once people call their insurance company and report the damage, and that process can take a while.” Due to the high volume of people that have been affected by Dorian, companies will have their hands full.

You can clarify the details of your policy by speaking with your insurance representative. If the damage to your home is serious, you should call the emergency number associated with your provider and make sure your claim is heard as soon as possible.

The contact details for your insurance company should be listed at the top of your policy, but if you are unable to find your documents amongst the chaos, you can reach the IBC at 1-844-227-5422, extension 228. They can provide you with the information you need.

I’ve Filed My Claim, Now What?

Once you have reported your loss and damage, the insurance company will provide you with an adjuster. The claims adjuster will investigate your circumstances — this is where those pictures and key documentation will come in handy — and take you through the insurance process.

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