This article addresses actions that self-storage business owners may take in the aftermath of a storm and filing a claim. The first article in this two-part series discussed steps to prepare for storm season.
When the storms have subsided and you are on your self-storage property surveying the damage, your initial thoughts will likely include your insurance carrier. In the event that you have kept a record of the names, addresses, phone numbers, policy numbers and other identifying information concerning your various carriers, you will have the necessary information at your fingertips to make a few calls to report your claim to your insurance company. Please keep in mind that a claim can usually be reported to a carrier by either the agent or the insured, but each claim should only be reported once. Claim reporting information should include the following:
• Your business name, address and phone number
• The name and phone number of the person to be contacted by the insurance company
• All contact information for the insured and/or the insured’s representatives
• Policy number
• Date, time and location of the loss
• A brief description of the damage (if multiple buildings are damaged, specify which buildings are damaged with specific addresses for each)
Once you have reported the claim to your carrier, a claims representative will contact you to arrange for an inspection of your property. While awaiting further action by your insurance carrier, there are a few things you may wish to consider:
• Ensure the safety of yourself, your employees, passersby, customers and the public at large. If your building is not stable, do not enter it or allow anyone else to enter it.
• Check for electrical power lines that may be down or damaged and gas lines that may be severed or leaking. Notify the appropriate authorities immediately.
• Protect the property from further damage and protect any contents or other personal property.
• Begin emergency and/or temporary repairs as soon as practicable to mitigate your damages. Most insurance companies will cover reasonable and necessary emergency repairs which safeguard your property from further loss, so keep detailed records of the amounts you spend and take photos.
• Keep any receipts for emergency repair work and an accurate record of such work along with information to identify by whom the work was performed.
• Do not discard any item without checking with your claim representative first.
• Be prepared to provide your claim representative with copies of all documents such as photographs showing damage, emergency repair invoices, receipts, and inventories.
• Take many photos.
Frequent and severe storms have become a way of life these days. The guidelines provided above are offered to assist property owners in the careful consideration, analysis and presentation of their insurance needs in the face of potentially catastrophic storm activity.
NOTE: This brief article is not intended to provide specific legal analysis or advice, and should not be construed to apply to every potential situation involving insurance coverages and losses. For specific information and questions concerning this article and the information contained therein, please consult your insurance agent and/or your attorney.