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Filing a insurance claim after a hurricane can be quick and easy if you follow some simple tips. Afterwards a insurance assessor will come and put a amount on what your damage will cost to fix and you will receive those funds.
What to do after a Hurricane?
A lot of hurricanes are hitting the coastline these days and their intensity is also increasing with the changing climatic conditions. Those living on the east coast of United States have seen many in the past and have witnessed the growing intensity of these hurricanes. Not having hurricane insurance is just not an option anymore.
If you have been through a hurricane, then you know how it is; heavy, strong winds striking your homes at high speeds and causing wreckage to and around your house. The power lines, poles trees, communication towers none of it is spared
- Your safety should be your first priority. If your house has been impacted, it is wiser to wait till the local authorities feel it’s safe for you to go back.
- If you do go in, make sure there aren’t any animals that have run in for shelter!
- When out in the open, watch out for power lines that may be cut as the risk of sparks, live wires and shocks exists.
- In your house there may be broken glass, sharp objects protruding from unlikely places that can injure you severely.
- Try to get hold of a portable radio for the latest news on what is happening in your area and what the local authorities plan to do.
- If you have a fireplace or candles make sure you keep an eye on these as there are chances of a flare-up. So also the case with barbeque grills or generators which are in areas that are not properly ventilated.
- Do not touch appliances that are wet.
The Next steps
- Check-on all possible hazards that could arise from a gas leak, a clogged chimney, the sewage or electricity.
- If there are any chances of a fire or a flare-up, leave the house immediately and call for professional help.
- Try to take pictures of the damage in the house or car so that it becomes easy to make claims with your insurance company.
- Whether it is your car or house all items soaked in water need to be dried out. Once the hurricane effect is over open the windows and allow for ventilation else the water that has seeped through can be more damaging.
- If it is possible, those items which are damaged and can be claimed should be stored away for inspection at a later time. Make notes of the same.
- Remove the broken glass, clean up the debris and don’t leave any glass cracked at the window.
- Damaged roofs can be temporarily covered up with planks of wood if available.
- If your car has been damaged cover it with water-proof sheets so that there is no further damage.
- If you are driving, you should be careful as the bridges or roads may be far from what they used to be like!
Contacting the Insurance Company
- When you are completely prepared call the insurance company and let them know your situation. They are bound to ask questions on the damage and extent of the same. They expect details from you.
- They need to verify what you are saying and hence will need the report from any local agency who may have reached you when you called for help.
- If there are pictures and videos, or the notes you made on damaged and stolen belongings, it expedites the claims process.
- It would also be helpful to have the credit card statements or serial numbers or manuals of the belongings you are making your claims for.
- Ensure they have your current contact numbers and address.
Generally, it takes time for the insurance company to get back because in such scenarios they have many claims coming in. But based on the extent of damage they try to help as soon as possible.
- If it is necessary to make temporary repairs, go ahead but save the receipts.
- The insurance companies prefer that you wait until a claims agent comes and checks the extent of the damage before you do any permanent repairs.
- If you cannot stay in your house due to the extent of damage, the insurance company will pay for your expenses if you rent a place for the time period as agreed upon in the insurance policy.
- When you plan your permanent repairs there may be cases when you want to make certain improvements to what existed earlier. The insurance policy usually doesn’t cover these but covers for replacements of the same kind that existed before. However you can go ahead and make these changes after discussing with the insurance company and if you can pay the difference amount.
- Sometimes insurance companies may also help you get your car and house fixed after estimating the costs. They may provide additional services like referring contractors who can help fix your house.
With the insurance in place you have a way forward after a hurricane has hit you. Ensure you are completely aware of what your policy covers. Some policies which insure for hurricane damage may not cover for damage due to flood. So gather as much information as you can before you apply, if you haven’t got one yet.
Working with an Interior designer
You may have bought your new home and you want to design the rooms or you may be expecting a baby and want to design a room for your child or you may be just bored with your present design and want to make changes to the same; whatever the case the professional you need most now is an interior designer.
A good interior designer has all the know-how to look at the space in question and bring in the structural changes that will best suit your requirements. The designer is someone who can make the changes such that it reflects your personality and style. And this can result only if there is a good bond and understanding between you and the interior designer.
How do you find an interior designer?
You can randomly look at design magazines and when you like the work of a certain designer make note of his contact details or most definitely, you can contact designers through American Society of Interior Designers. You could also ask around and see the work of designers your family, friends and acquaintances had hired and decide on contacting them. In this case it becomes easier for you as you are informed about how the person works and you may have gathered tips on how to deal with the designer.
Setting the expectations…
Interior designers generally work at hourly rates and this can vary anywhere between $50 -$500. Some do take a fixed amount at the start which can vary based on the volume of work and how sort after the designer is! Some designers also take a retainer fee before work begins which works as an assurance between you and the designer that the deal is finalized and you will not be going for another designer and vice-versa. There are some established designers who use a method know as cost-plus. They buy all the relevant material at discounted prices and charge you the retail price. The difference amount is what they keep as their salary. What’s important is not how you pay the designer but how transparent your designer can be with you. Yes, the designer designs your space but the other advantage you look for when you hire a designer is that he/she should be able to get you discounts on various items that you as an individual cannot. So it is important to set your expectations from the start on the scope of work and services you expect from the designer. Also from the point of view of the designer its best to understand whether the pay includes travel time or if any unscheduled site visits will be charged or consultations over phone are billable? This helps avoid friction and discrepancies in the long run.
Understanding your style…
When you look through the portfolio of designers, however versatile they may be, there will be a certain style or aesthetic sense that is pronounced. So it is best if you can see similarities in the work they have done before and the design you want. It would not be a good fit to hire a designer who has a tendency to go for bold colors when you are tilted towards pale and pastels!
When the work begins…
- Its best the designer has been involved from the start, so there is a smooth flow of information between you and the designer. Its best you make up your mind on what stuff has to stay and what you cannot compromise on or do without. If this information has reached the designer at the start, the designer can work around these constraints while planning on designing your room with your theme and style incorporated.
- Amongst your own folks, the understanding of what stays or does not, should be clear so that when the work starts, the designer doesn’t find a member of the family questioning the work.
- If you are getting your home or room remodeled or for that matter getting a new one built try to get the designer in for the crucial discussions you have with the contractor or architect so the designer knows what to expect and can even start planning at an early stage.
- If you have concrete vision of what you want it’s a great input for the designer to get started. But if you just have a rough idea and you are not clear, always try to get hold of pictures from design magazines or examples that best reflect what you want.
- Being open about your ideas and giving your reasoning and rationale can be very important to the designer who is trying to get as many hints as possible to get your style and personality into the space he or she is trying to design for you.
- It is your home and you are going to live in it. So it is you who will decide if something is good for you or not. But the fact is that you have hired the designer for a perspective that you may miss. They have the experience to provide you with what could be better than you imagined. It is best therefore to always be open to suggestions and ideas from the designer. Before you completely discard a suggestion from the designer give it a thought or debate on it to understand the reasoning behind it.
It would be a good idea to ask if the designer would be okay to do a few visits in future as well. There is always a possibility that you may want to rejuvenate or change the look of one or more rooms in your home. And a designer who has worked with you before would be a good choice as he can get started in no time. Therefore it would be wise to approach the association you have with the designer as a long term one.