Storm WatchStorm Watch

How to prepare for a hurricane

Insurance 101

If you are told
to evacuate

After the hurricane

Making an insurance claim

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 31, 1998

People who want to make insurance claims must do two things, adjusters report:

1. Give notice of loss -- letting your insurance company know you've sustained a loss. You can do this by phone or in person.

2. Show proof of ownership and damage -- documentation of what you lost and what it was worth.

It's fairly easy to document you had a home -- it's on the property tax rolls; the county property assessor can give an estimate of its assessed value.

As for ordinary household items -- furniture, appliances, clothing -- you'll be covered. There usually isn't any type of controversy over that, insurers say.

You likely won't get an argument if you say you had a TV and VCR, even without receipts, but if you try to claim that you just had your entire kitchen redone last month with top-of-the-line appliances, be prepared to provide receipts or documentation from your suppliers.

Controversy arises when you claim unusual items -- jewelry, artwork, furs, antiques -- without receipts or documentation.

Ideally, you'll have separate insurance riders for these big-ticket items, and appraisals for unique or valuable items such as works of art. Receipts and appraisal documentation belong in your safe deposit box.

Related stories:

Taking inventory of your property

Important paperwork to take

© Copyright 1998 St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.