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Storm's Over. Now What?

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After the big storm passes, you are troubled to find that your office is one of its many victims. Luckily you have insurance on your building. To decrease the chances of receiving a disappointing check or being on the hook for additional out-of-pocket expenses, the Insurance Information Institute suggests the following:

  • As soon as you are aware of the building damage, file a claim with your insurance company and call your agent.
  • Take immediate steps to protect the property from further damage. This includes covering broken windows and holes in the exterior to prevent water from damaging the building’s interior. If those repairs involve purchasing materials such as lumber or tarpaulin, save that receipt and don’t worry. You’ll spend a few dollars, but you’ll get it back. More important, you will satisfy a condition of the policy and prevent a lower payment from the insurance company.
  • Allow only the insurance adjuster and licensed contractors to get on your roof. Each time someone walks on it, more damage could occur.
  • Select only a reputable contractor for repairs. Be wary of unusually inexpensive, cash-only deals. Unfortunately, contractors looking to take your money without completing the work tend to multiply after catastrophic, wide-spread damage.
  • Do not make a final payment to the contractor until repairs have been inspected and are satisfactory.
  • Always ask contractors for proof of workers’ compensation and liability insurance. The absence of this insurance could put your business on the hook if one of the workers is injured on your property or if the contractor should damage a neighbor's property.

©2013 Selective Ins. Group, Inc. (Branchville, NJ). "Selective" insurers include Selective Ins. Co. of America, Selective Ins. Co. of New England, Selective Ins. Co. of N.Y., Selective Ins. Co. of South Carolina, Selective Ins. Co. of the Southeast, Selective Way Ins. Co., Selective Cas. Ins. Co, Selective Fire and Cas. Ins. Co and Selective Auto Ins. Co. of N.J. Insurers and products available vary by jurisdiction.