Disaster Recovery Insurance Tips
Disaster Recovery Insurance Tips
During an Disaster

1) As soon as possible, contact ALL your insurance companies (home, auto and health) - let them know you have been displaced! [If you do not have your insurance papers, but know your insurance company, call the AZ Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions for help contacting your insurance company: 800-325-2548 or 602.364.2499]

2) Ask your insurer if they are making any special accommodations for displaced customers, such as:

Health Insurance [If you need to refill prescriptions, seek medical treatment out of network, find medical providers, etc.]
   • Will they allow for early refills (or override refill caps) on prescription medication(s)?
   • Will they grant exceptions for receiving health care "out of network"?
   • Will they help you find doctors, pharmacies and medical facilities?
   • Will they grant you an extension to pay premiums if due in the immediate future?
   • Do you need to provide a change of address?
   • What assistance can they offer you when filing claims?
   • Will they send a duplicate copy of your insurance policy and/or ID card if needed?

Home Insurance [If you were told to evacuate, and/or if your home and belongings were damaged or destroyed by smoke, soot, heat, fire, etc.]
   • Ask if you have Additional Living Expense coverage on your policy, how to make a claim for it, and what receipts you’ll need to submit?
   • Can they review your home insurance coverages with you?
   • Can they offer any tools to help you make an “inventory” of your belongings?
   • Will they grant you an extension to pay premiums if due in the immediate future?
   • Will they send you a duplicate copy of your insurance policy and/or ID cards if needed?

Auto Insurance [If your vehicle was damaged by smoke, soot, heat, fire, etc.]
   • What assistance can they offer to help you evaluate your coverages and file a claim?
   • Will they send you a duplicate copy of your insurance policy and/or ID cards if needed?
   • Will they grant you an extension to pay premiums if due in the immediate future?

3) Areas impacted by wildland fire are at greater risk of flooding.
         • Standard homeowners insurance does not cover damages caused by flooding.
         • There is a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance to become effective. It is necessary to renew your flood insurance policy annually.
         • Go to https://www.floodsmart.gov/ to find an agent and to learn more about flood insurance. Contact the NFIP at (800) 638-6620.


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Making Repairs After a Disaster

As you return home and begin to assess the damage to your house and belongings, keep in mind the following tips about your property insurance:

Contact your insurance company BEFORE you begin to repair, replace, clean, or dispose of your property. Your insurance policy requires that you show damaged property to the insurer, so if you begin to repair, clean, or replace property before the insurer has an opportunity to confirm and evaluate the damage, the insurer could deny your claims.

If you must urgently repair part of your home or car to protect it from further damage, keep very detailed records of the actual damage (photos, video) and keep detailed receipts to document the cost of the repairs.

 Example: Your front window was broken by a fallen tree limb and the interior of the house is exposed and easily accessible. In order to mitigate against additional damage from theft, rain, etc. you want to replace the window. Take detailed photos of the damaged window before you make repairs and keep all receipts and documents related to the repairs. If you can’t get it     replaced immediately, board it up temporarily.

Again, if you must clean up debris or make repairs BEFORE your insurer sees the damage, call your insurer first and ask what kind of documentation they will accept. In all circumstances, TAKE PHOTOS and/or VIDEO and KEEP RECEIPTS!

Be wary of “traveling” repair services. Research all construction, cleaning, and debris removal contractors BEFORE you enter into a contract and pay for any services. Contact the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (877-692-9762 or 602- 542-1525 or AZ Registrar of Contractors) to verify licensure and the Better Business Bureau of Central, Northern & Western Arizona (602-264-1721 or www.apache.bbb.org) to inquire about complaints.

If you don’t already have a “home inventory”, begin writing a detailed list of your personal belongings that were destroyed by fire or damaged by smoke. Ask your insurer for any tools they have to help you with this. Make a list of belongings for which you have another source of records if your records were destroyed. For instance, a manufacturer’s warranty, a monthly bill (e.g. internet service provider), credit card statements, family photos, repair receipts, etc. These proof of ownership documents may be helpful in supporting claims for valuable items.

Request a duplicate copy of your insurance policies and ID cards if necessary. 

If you think the damage to your home or belongings was minimal and might not exceed your deductible, you do not have to file a claim.

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Here is a link to some important resources to help you work with your insurance company before you experience a storm event. Information on how to prepare yourself, take an inventory of your personal property and other important consumer information can help you with storm and disaster preparedness.

Insurance Information Institute - Disaster + Preparedness 

NAIC- Go-Bag Packed - Disaster Preparation

FEMA- Disaster Survivors

Disaster Recovery Insurance Tips