GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Now that Hurricane Irma has wreaked havoc and destruction, residents may be wondering what to do first. Angela Lindsey, the UF/IFAS Extension representative for the Extension Disaster Education Network, offers tips on how to navigate the end of the storm, assess property damage and file a claim.
“Safety is first and foremost, so be careful walking around,” Lindsey said. “Check for structural damage before entering any building. And, don’t use a candle to examine damage, because gas could be trapped inside the facility. Use a flashlight instead, and keep power off until an electrician has inspected your home.”
Michael Olexa, professor and director of the UF/IFAS Center for Agricultural and Natural Resources law, says residents should take the following steps to file an insurance claim:
- Contact your insurance agent and give them your name, address, policy number and date of your loss. Make sure to tell the agent where you can be reached, especially if you are not able to stay in your home.
- Make a detailed list of lost or damaged property.
- Videotape and/or photograph damaged property before beginning any repairs.
- Do not throw away damaged property without your adjustor’s approval.
- Try to document the value of each object lost. If you don’t have receipts, canceled checks, or insurance evaluations, estimate the value, and give purchase place and date of purchase.
- List cleaning and repair bills, including materials, cost of rental equipment and depreciation of purchased equipment.
- List any additional living expenses you incur if your home is so severely damaged that you have to find other accommodations while repairs are being made (this includes motel bills, restaurant bills, home rental, and/or car rentals).
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.