Insurance companies are trying to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy including one in East Haven, which was one of the hardest hit areas in Connecticut.
Mobile claims offices have been setup in Connecticut to not only help customers who are without, but also to help insurance offices that are in the dark.
Enrico Melchiorri is a contractor and anticipates getting some Hurricane Sandy-related work. He visited a mobile insurance office on Frontage Road, which was setup by Allstate, to get claims information.
"They gave me information on how claims are made, how they're paid through to their customers, how if there's a bank that's held a lien on the house and where they come into play," he told Eyewitness News.
The mobile insurance office, which is located in the Home Depot parking lot, is one of two dozen throughout the country.
"We've got a team of claims adjusters there right now that can sit down and answer questions, and even start the claims process," said Cathy Mayo, who is a spokesperson for Allstate. "In some cases even provide a check."
Allstate usually uses mobile insurance offices during mass natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.
Melchiorri said he feels the approach by the insurance companies is catching on with the state utility companies.
"I've noticed even with the power companies they got out there very quickly, started cutting and clearing the ways," he said.
Allstate is expected to be at its East Haven location for several more days and mobile teams are expected to visit the most severely damage areas and go directly to peoples' homes to check on them.
The Connecticut Insurance Department is offering advice on filing claims after damage was caused by Sandy.
Consumers should follow the following tips when making a claim:
Contact your insurer as soon as possible.
Take photos of the damage.
Do not make permanent repairs until your insurer has inspected the property.
Keep a diary of all contact, conversations with your insurer.
If you can still live in the home, talk with your agent about critical repairs that need to be made. Whether you make the repairs or hire someone, save the receipts for your claim.
If you need to find other lodging, keep records of expenses and all receipts. Homeowners and renter's insurance generally provide limited coverage for expenses like: meals, rent, utility installation and transportation.
Your carrier will send an insurance adjuster to survey the damage at no cost to you. Public adjusters may offer the same services, but you would be responsible for any related fees. Check to be sure they are licensed with the Insurance Department.
Do not feel rushed or pushed to agree on a settlement. If there are disagreements, try to resolve them with your insurer. If you cannot reach an agreement, the Connecticut Insurance Department can help you decide if arbitration or mediation is an option.
Your full claim may come in multiple payments. The first will likely be an emergency advance and may include additional living expenses. The payment for your personal property and any additional living expenses will be made out to you. Payments for the structure may be payable to you and your lien holder if there is a mortgage on your home.
Even after settling your claim, if you think of items that were not in your initial loss list, contact your insurance company. Unless the company has paid the entire limit for the coverage of those types of items, it is possible the company will make an additional payment.
If your damages exceed the amount of your coverage, federal agencies will occasionally provide grants or low-interest loans to assist with recovery following major disasters.
"Should any problems arise between you and your carrier, contact the Insurance Department," said Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas Leonardi. "We are here to help you work through the process and will ensure that carriers comply with all state insurance laws."
For more information, visit the Connecticut Insurance Department website or call 860-297-3800.
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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