Maximize Insurance Recovery for Property Damage Claims arising from Superstorm Sandy

I am sorry for your loss as a result of Superstorm Sandy that hit the New Jersey coast on October 29, 2012. The disaster is widespread. Many of you do not even know the size of your loss since you were not even permitted to return home long enough to assess the damage. In my forty years of living on the Jersey shore, I have never experienced anything like this event and I can feel how the community is mourning the loss. Even so, there is a strong resolve to "restore the shore". Things will get better, slowly but surely.

A big part of your recovery will come from the money your insurance carrier will pay you for your loss. In order to maximize recovery from Superstorm Sandy, though , there many things to keep in mind. Please consider the following list of issues, though this list is not exhaustive:

1. Most policies require you to provide notice of your loss in a timely manner as specified in your policy. Failure to provide notice in the manner required may affect your ability to recover money for your loss. It is not enough to telephone the carrier of your loss or rely on your insurance broker to do so. You should make your claim in writing and retain a copy of your notice for future reference. Also be sure to make your claim within the time required by your policy. If you do not know the extent of your loss, your claim should be very broad to cover any possible loss you can think of.

2. You should carefully read every page of your polices including all endorsements. No policy is "off the shelf" meaning no two policies are the same and require complete review

3. In reviewing your policy, you should determine what kind of loss it covers, such as water damage, mold, exterior damage, interior damage, contents loss, plumbing, electrical and other mechanicals, debris removal, etc. When your insurance adjuster "offers" you a settlement, does it take into account all possible areas of recovery.

4. If you own a business affected by the storm, does your policy provide business interruption coverage. Is coverage provided for damage as result of flooding? Can you make a claim if your business is affected because your suppliers are affected by the storm (referred to as contingent business interruption).

5. There are limits to the amount of money the insurance carrier will pay for your loss. There may also be sublimits in your policy. For example, you may have $1,000,000.00 of coverage for loss but a sublimit of $250,000.00 loss related to flood damage.

6. Do you have multiple insurance policies that may come into play? Be sure to consider all the polices of insurance available.

7. Look at the deductables that apply. Different deductables apply depending upon whether the loss arises from a hurricane, tropical storm or superstorm.

8. Your policy may require you to file a sworn affidavit for you proof of loss. Be careful to list all of your losses . If all your losses are unknown at this time, you should say so and call the proof of loss an "interim" proof of loss. Make sure you proof of loss is filed timely.

9. Consider asking your insurance carrier for an advance of money if you need to get through the beginning stages of your restoration.

10. Keep track of all your expenses. Document everything with pictures. The best documentation of loss are receipts for the items lost. Keep all of your receipts for items replaced.

11. You have an obligation to protect people and property. If you have access to your property, you should take those steps necessary to avoid further losses by securing the property in any reasonable way. If in doubt, talk to the carrier but document everything.

12. Be sure to cooperate with your carrier. Failure to cooperate might result in no coverage for you loss.

13. Never take no for an answer from your carrier.

The best way to turn a no into a yes when you are not getting what you want from your carrier is to have an attorney help you in this process. I am willing to provide you with a "no fee" review of your insurance policy. I can help you put together your written proof of loss if required. I can help you with issues that arise and ultimately negotiate a favorable settlement of your claim.

Please also consider who will be helping in your restoration efforts, particularly, what contractor you will be using. Get recommendations and check their references. Make sure all contractors are licensed and have suitable insurance policies in effect. You should get copies of these polices for reference. Also make sure you have a good contract that addresses all the work to be done by the contractor. I highly recommend review of all contracts by an attorney. I can help you with contract review.

You should contact my office today to schedule a no fee review of your of your insurance policies and help you on your way to recovery.

Please do not consider any of this information as my legal advice to you. We do not yet have an attorney client relationship. All items listed on this website are for informational and marketing purposes only.

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