What To Do Before the Hurricane Comes

Hello, my name is Bob Scott and I am a partner at Advocate Law Group P.C. I am creating this information at about 3PM September 6th, 2017. This is directed to all the folks who find themselves potentially in the path of our latest hurricane, wondering, “What should I do, how should I prepare? I’ve got to get out of here in a few minutes. What do I need to take to protect myself on the insurance side” My background is in insurance. I’ve represented policyholders and litigated against insurance companies for over 40 years. Here’s what I would suggest, for insurance purposes only.

Make a Quick Record of the Interior of Your Home

The first thing you want to do is to make a record of what you have and where it is located. So that means take out your cell phone and set it to video. You’re going to make a record of every room in your home before you walk out the front door. This should take you about 15-20 minutes, and it will be the best thing you can do to prove what you had before the storm. If you can’t record a video (maybe your phone doesn’t have enough space for a video), take lots of photos instead.

Make a visual record of as many possessions as you can, including what is inside closets , drawers and cabinets. If you have family antiques, or other special things, like a collection of silver, or a collection of anything, make a recording of those items up close. Talk into the video as you do it and say, “Hey, this is my silver, this is my mom’s antique lamp,” etc. Do this in every room. Identify every room as you walk through it.

Make a Quick Record of the Exterior of Your Home

Also, take a walk around the outside of your home and record the exterior of your home, the trees, plants, and the yard, because exterior damage will also be part of any losses you might claim. Include the garage or an outdoor shed as part of your walk-through.

Make a Record of Vehicles You Leave Behind

Before you leave, take a picture of any vehicles you leave behind, including a close-up of the license plates. Take a picture of the inside of the car. Take a picture of where it’s located if you have to drive away without that car.

Insurance Documents and Broker/Agent Names

Now let’s go on to documents. If you have a broker or an insurance agent that you used, that person will have the records for you. If you have copies of your insurance records and you keep them in a file that’s easy to get to, take those copies with you. If you can’t, at least take your agent or broker’s information because he or she will have copies of those documents and can put you in touch with your insurance company should you need to file a claim.

The insurance documents are not as important as making your record of what you have before you leave the house. That record is important because if you discover, when you come back, that there is damage, you at least have a record of what your property was like when you left that no one can contest because it was your last look as you exited the house.