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Based out of North Carolina, our staff and offices have been impacted by the massive storm that came ashore in Wilmington on Friday, September 14. Our hearts go out to all the other individuals and businesses in the Carolinas that have been impacted by Hurricane Florence.

As the rain stops and the flood waters begin to recede, it is time to think about getting life back on track—and that often starts with filing insurance claims to recover damages to your home and other personal property losses. Here are a few tips for affected homeowners to begin the claims process:

You should report your claim as soon as possible, given that claims are processed on a first come, first serve basis. While there may currently be a high volume of calls, leading to longer wait times, waiting now will likely be more valuable than putting it off until later.

When on the phone, make sure to write down your claim number for reference. Keep this number easily accessible, so any follow-up calls will be efficient.

Keep all receipts for any expenses related to immediate repairs or living expenses, a list of damaged items, and the corresponding photo or video documentation to give to the insurance adjuster. Make sure to take notes and photographs related to all damages to personal property, vehicles, and homes, and try to locate any information regarding the condition or price of those items before the storm hit.

When the adjuster arrives, be sure to ask whether they are an employee of the company or an independent adjuster. If they are an independent adjuster, confirm that they are authorized to make claim decisions on behalf of your insurance provider by asking for the name of their third-party firm. Verifying that you are speaking with trusted representatives of your insurance policy provider, whether in-person or over-the-phone, is a way to protect yourself from those seeking personal information about insurance payments.

Even if you do not have flood insurance, it never hurts to call your insurance provider anyway. While you may not be covered for flood damage, some home insurance policies cover water and wind damage that may have resulted from Hurricane Florence. If your car was struck by downed trees from your or your neighbor’s property, for example, it may be covered under your auto policy or your neighbor’s policy.

If you do not have an insurance policy, you may still be able to seek help from nonprofit groups or through federal disaster relief. You can register for federal disaster relief at DisasterAssistance.gov, on the FEMA mobile app, or by calling 1-800-621-3362. You can also visit our website for more information.

Hoping for a safe, speedy recovery to the North Carolina coast and all affected communities.

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