My home is flooded from the Winter Storm, what should I do now?
According to local weather reports, not only did Winter Storm Jonas bring record snowfall to the East Coast, flooding continues to be a problem along the East Coast after Winter Storm Jonas. The National Weather Service has issued a coastal flooding warning for Delaware and New Jersey. Some residents are even complaining that the flooding is worse than the flooding during Hurricane Sandy.
To all those people who have been, or are currently being, affected by Winter Storm Jonas and other recent weather events, it is important to know what to do when the storm hits and you experience property damage. Here are three (3) steps you should take to protect your rights after Winter Storm Jonas.
Document your loss
Make sure to take photos or video of the damages. Ideally, it is best to be able to provide photographs of your property before and after the storm. This includes taking photos of any repair work that you have performed. In that same vein, you must create lists of all the items in your house which were damaged and when possible, compile receipts which show the costs of these items. You should also make sure to maintain copies of every receipt, invoice and bill associated with any related repairs to your home. This includes receipts from restoration companies and emergency services companies, hotels stays (assuming you were unable to stay in your home) and other receipts associated with you having to leave your house.
Notify your insurance company of the loss
It is very important that you notify your insurance company immediately after storm damage. Many insurance policies contain a Notice provision that requires timely notice of any claim.
Contact an Attorney experienced in property damage claims
The insurance companies have teams of attorneys and adjusters working for them, you should have one advising you. Even if you don’t think you need legal representation, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney. A qualified insurance attorney can review your policy, tell you what coverage you may have and what is excluded. You may have multiple policies of insurance available to you. Remember, insurance companies are not your friends, they are in business for one reason only — to make money.
If you are reading this article, you know, coastal flooding severely affected many homes in New Jersey. Water several feet deep at times, surged into North Wildwood, Ocean City, Margate, Barnagate, Belmare, and other parts of Atlantic, Ocean, Cape May, Monmouth, Hudson, Union, Essex and Middlesex Counties.
A cautionary tale: all too often we receive calls from homeowners and adjusters seeking legal consultation for dealing with insurance companies that refuse to pay for certain storm related damage. Often times these individuals are well into the claims process and have either given sworn statements under oath that have given insurance companies ammunition to delay or deny their claims, or worse, these individuals out of desperation have accepted small sums of money in full settlement of their claims. The truth of the matter is that insurance companies owe an obligation to their insured (you) to pay for losses that are covered under their insurance policy. If they do not, you may be entitled to punitive damages that can be several times that amount you would normally be entitled to under your policy. Be proactive! Take the above steps to document your loss and protect your rights.
If your insurance company is not responding, if your adjuster has failed, if you would just like to know what your rights are, please contact the experienced insurance attorneys at the law offices of Freundlich & Littman, LLC for a free consultation today. In the last six (6) months, Freundlich & Littman has recovered over a million dollars for residential and commercial property damage losses.
To receive an immediate response, please contact us at 215-545-8500 or at [email protected] and state that you are calling about the property damage you received in Winter Storm Jonas.