4 Things To Do After an Earthquake

In some areas, earthquake is a major reason of insurance claims. In this case, we should know what to do after an earthquake strikes:

Make sure that everyone is Safe

All family members and pets should be safe. If our house is no longer habitable, we should find them a place to live. Many insurance policies provide reimbursement for rental homes and hotels. This is certainly better than living in government-provided shelters. It is a good thing if the insurance also provides compensations for “loss of use” and “additional living expenses”. During the aftermath of the earthquake, we should keep any receipts for lodging, meals and other purchases. It means that all damaged items should be proper replaced. The coverage applies until the house is fully repaired and it becomes habitable once again. Although we obtain financial coverage from the insurance company, we could also contact FEMA or other disaster assistance organizations for more helps.

Notify the Insurance Company

The insurance carrier and their agents should be notified that we have sustained different levels of damages to our houses. If the damage is only minor, it may not be necessary to claim for it, especially if the deductible already covers the repair costs. If damages to our house are significant enough, we should inform the insurance company that we plan on filing a claim.

Get independent Evaluations and Opinions

If we don’t like what the insurance adjusters are saying about the extent of damages on our house, we should get a qualified independent opinion. We could call the contractor, certified structural engineer or public insurance adjuster to check our house. A qualified adjuster should be able to inspect our house after the earthquake to determine whether it is still habitable and if the damage is extensive enough, the entire house may need to be torn down and rebuilt. Under any circumstance, we shouldn’t blindly trust the adjuster. In some cases, they may even say that the damage is minor enough that the repair costs won’t exceed the deductible. It happens because many insurance companies reward adjusters that can produce as few claims as possible. Our house is too valuable for us to rely entirely on someone’s opinion. It could happen especially if the adjuster isn’t a qualified contractor or experienced structural engineer.

Check the Declaration Page

Actually, this is something that we need to do before we purchase the insurance policy, not after the earthquake struck. It is a page that many people don’t really look carefully until something quite bad happens. The declaration page should be filled with our name, address, categories of coverage, policy number, name of mortgage provider, endorsements and others. We should check the date, to make sure that we are using an updated and most current copy. This is important because the copy shows accurately what our coverage is. The extras or endorsements should be listed and reviewed properly. If we are confused about something, we can ask the adjuster and insurance company for their answers, but we shouldn’t solely trust all their answers.