Take these insurance precautions for Hurricane Matthew

Trees blown by strong wind

The strongest storm America has seen in a decade hit the Florida coast late Oct 6. While the most important things area residents need to keep in mind during Hurricane Matthew is stockpiling fresh water and non-perishable food, it’s also important for homeowners to remember that their homes are at risk.

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) has predicted the storm will cause a staggering amount of damage, likely more than $7.4 billion, according to USA Today. That’s about 100,000 insurance claims.

After a big disaster like Matthew, companies will be swamped with claims by people that need help. Dealing with an insurance claim in the aftermath of a crisis is no easy task, so the CFA is offering some tips for what homeowners should do before and after the storm.

Before the storm, the CFA recommends you secure a copy of your home or renters insurance policy, review it, and if you haven’t already, document your possessions and record their approximate value if possible.

Having a thorough inventory is an essential part of making a home insurance claim. This means taking pictures and recording model numbers and receipts. This will help eliminate getting into a back-and-forth when making your claim.

The CFA also recommends keeping a record of the expenses you’ve incurred in order to mitigate damage to your home. For example, boarding up your windows may be covered under a standard homeowners policy.

After the storm, file your claim as soon as you can. Keep a record of the people you interact with from your insurance company, and document when and what is discussed at each stage of the process. Record your claim number and keep that safe as it is the primary way your insurance company will identify and keep track of your claim.

Finally, once you file your claim try to get an independent contractor to estimate your damage to give you a solid idea of what you should expect to hear from the insurance adjuster.

Hurricane Matthew is expected to move north up the coast of Florida, bringing hurricane-force winds to some areas and tropical storm winds and isolated tornadoes to others.