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Palm Beach Prepares for Hurricane Matthew: What You Need to Know Before You File a Claim

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As Palm Beach residents prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew later this week, it’s important that you know what to do in the event your home or commercial property is damaged by this powerful Category 4 hurricane.

What You Need to Know BEFORE You File Your Claim:

1. TEMPORARY REPAIRS ONLY!

Only perform temporary repairs to your property to stop further damage occurrence. Your insurance policy and provider may have stipulations that exclude coverage in this area in emergency caps, and remedial limitations. Make sure you do what you have to in order to secure your property first. Then get the facts about what your specific policy covers before incurring additional expenses that may or may not be reimbursed later.

2. BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Take pictures of your property before a loss if you haven’t already, and then after to document the extent of your property damage. It is much easier to build a strong insurance claim case with before and after photographs.

3. KEEP EVERYTHING!

Don’t throw anything away! This includes personal property (furniture, clothing, household goods, etc.), damaged items from your home, saturated sheet rock, loose roof tiles, etc. Even if you take pictures of the damaged items, you still should not throw them out. Depending on the number of policyholders affected, it could take weeks or months for your insurance provider to send an adjuster to your home to inspect the damage. Keep absolutely everything to make sure the insurance company sees the extent of your damage. This is important proof on your end that can translate to thousands in your settlement.

4. DON’T SIGN AOB!

Don’t sign an Assessment of Benefit form presented to you by a contractor. An assignment of benefits (AOB) is a legal tool that allows a third party to be paid in place of the insured homeowner who would normally be reimbursed by the insurance company directly after making a claim. The transfer of rights occurs when the policyholder signs the AOB contract and transfers their claims money directly to the restoration contractor. This essentially cuts you out of the settlement process altogether, leaving the insurance carrier and your contractor in charge of your repairs.

5. DOCUMENT YOUR CLAIM

Don’t rely on the insurance company to document your claim. Once you’ve secured your property, you should proactively build your own case with before and after photos, keeping all damaged property and all receipts and repair estimates together.

The process of building an insurance claim for significant hurricane damage to your home or business can be overwhelming. This is why many policyholders choose representation from a reputable public adjuster in the insurance claim process. Public adjusters represent you right from the start and save you time, money and aggravation during the claims process while fighting loop holes and negotiating with your carrier on your behalf.

Steven David Venook is a licensed public adjuster in South Florida with nearly two decades of experience helping policyholders in Broward, Miami and Palm Beach County through the complex insurance claim process after a hurricane loss occurrence. Venook has a strong track record in overcoming reduced payouts and beating denials to ensure his clients receive fair insurance settlements.

If you live in Palm Beach County and experience property damage from Hurricane Matthew, contact Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters at 954-914-7066. Make sure you have a licensed public adjuster with the industry knowledge and expertise in your corner!

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