6 Simple Things Everyone Can Do After a Major Disaster, and Top Six Myths, Facts About Disaster Insurance

6 Simple Things Everyone Can Do After a Major Disaster, and Top Six Myths, Facts About Disaster Insurance

When I see on the news the type of destruction from natural disasters such as Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Phillipines, and the tornadoes in the Midwest over the past week or so, it makes me want to help in any way that I can.  Lives have been lost, and many of those fortunate enough to survive are homeless, hurt, hungry, scared, and have children depending on them.

Since I’m not able to physically be there to help with the recovery effort, I feel that there are at least six things within my power that I can do.

  1. Pray for those in need of immediate help along with those scrambling to help them, or at the very least keep those people in your thoughts for the day and think of creative ways to generate some sort of positive energy on their behalf.
  2. Donate much needed financial support to disaster relief agencies such as the Red Cross, UNICEF, and Salvation Army.
  3. Donate blood to the Red Cross.
  4. Sign up to be a volunteer with your local Red Cross Chapter.
  5. Be thankful that you were not affected by such a disastrous event, then think about all of the basic things that the victims are in need of such as first aid, food, water, clothing, etc. and prepare your family by building at least a 3 day disaster survival kit.
  6. Share some helpful information learned with someone in hopes that it is able to help educate and prepare families for potentially devastating events like these.  Or at the very least, have a compassionate discussion with someone about what’s just happened and what you believe that you can do to plan or prepare for such an event.

Right now, I believe that the local communities and disaster relief volunteers are doing everything possible to sift through the rubble in search for survivors and get them the help that they need.  Although there is nothing that I can say or do to alter what has already been done and restore the victims’ most basics needs, I can share an article with you that I just read from ABC News which may give you some clarity on property insurance with regard to disasters.

 

Top Six Myths, Facts About Disaster Insurance

By SUSANNA KIM (@skimm)

ABC NEWS

Nov. 18, 2013

After severe storms and tornadoes struck the Midwest over the weekend, killing at least six people and injuring many more, business owners and households will spend the next months trying to piece their lives back together.

The type of property damage varies across the country from the weekend’s extreme weather, while flooding is the country’s number one natural hazard, according to the National Flood Insurance Program, which Congress created in 1968.

Many people don’t realize until it’s too late that flooding may not be covered by their regular homeowner’s policy.

Read More: At Least 6 Dead in Illinois After Tornadoes, Storms Damage Homes

Here are six myths about natural disaster insurance that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and other insurance experts try to dispel.

Myth:  The type of natural disaster doesn’t matter.

Damage from windstorm or hail and lightning is included in most homeowners’ policies, whereas damage from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are usually not, says insurer MetLife. You can purchase flood insurance nationwide and if you live in a floodplain or high-flood risk area, the NFIP says.

In Photos: Destructive Storms Sweep Through Midwest

Homes and businesses along a shoreline often have to have special insurance policy endorsements that cover water damage due to high winds, according to Judith Spry, partner in the insurance claims services practice at BDO Consulting, which provides litigation, investigation, restructuring and risk advisory services to major corporations and government organizations.

Myth:  You can’t get flood insurance if your property has been flooded before.

For people who don’t already have flood insurance, it is most likely too late to get it for those homes when a hurricane is on the way, but it is possible to get it next time, said the NFIP.

Though most insurance policies don’t include flood protection, coverage can be purchased from the federal government.

Myth:  You can only buy flood insurance if your mortgage broker requires it.

If you have a federally insured mortgage and live in a high-risk flood zone, mortgage companies will often require flood insurance to secure your loan.

If you live in a high-risk flood zone and receive federal disaster assistance after a flood, you will be required to purchase and maintain flood insurance until your loan is paid off. In this case, if you don’t buy flood insurance and another flood damages your property, a request for federal disaster assistance could be denied.

Myth:  You can’t get flood insurance if you live in a low-to-moderate flood-risk area at a lower cost.

The NFIP says you can get flood insurance if you live outside a floodplain or in a low-to-moderate flood-risk area, and at lower cost.

Homeowners insurance is usually based on the cost to rebuild rather than the current market value of a home, according to the MetLife Auto & Home Insurance Literacy study from August 2010.

Home and business owners should make sure they have coverage for replacement costs rather than actual cash value, says. Depending on how big your house is, how old it is and what it costs to replace it, she said the higher insurance premium may be worth the expense of the replacement cost in the long run.

Fact:  Start the insurance claims process as soon as possible.

The NFIP recommends three steps once you have flooding.

First, you should call your agent or insurance company to file a claim and an adjustor should contact you within a few days. You should know the name of your insurance company, your policy number and contact information where you can be reached.

Second, the NFIP recommends you separate undamaged from damaged property and take photographs of the latter, including discarded objects, structural damage and standing floodwater levels and make a list of damaged or lost items, including date of purchase, value and receipts if possible.

Third, your adjuster will provide you a Proof of Loss form for your official claim for damages, which you must file with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood.

You should receive your claim payment after you and the insurer agree on the amount of damages and the insurer has your complete, accurate, and signed Proof of Loss form. If major catastrophic flooding occurs, it may take longer to process claims, according to the NFIP.

Fact:  You don’t need a public adjuster on a big claim.

Public adjusters, who work for you and not the insurance company, will take a percentage of a claim even if the insured is investing a significant amount of time, such as preparing forms, for the process.

Spry says you do not need a public adjuster and instead recommends having an accounting firm to provide claims preparation coverage.