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Tips on how to handle hurricane claims

Hurricane Laura Damage
Posted at 3:16 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 16:16:44-04

If your home or business experienced flood, wind, or other damage, contact your insurer as soon as possible to file your claim, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association recommends.

The APCIA, which is a trade organization for insurance companies, offers some advice for how to handle hurricane claims.

“We know many are currently without power and the full extent of Hurricane Ida’s devastation will become clearer in the coming days. Insurers stand ready to help policyholders following Hurricane Ida’s landfall on Sunday and help get them on the road to recovery. Insurers can be contacted through their toll-free claims number [], app, website, or by text to report the damage and file your claim,” said Jeff Brewer, Department Vice President for Public Affairs, APCIA. “To help with the claims process, make an inventory of what was lost or damaged and keep any receipts for materials you purchase to assist with repairs.”

Damage associated with wind and other severe weather is typically covered under a standard homeowners, renters, or business policy, the organization says.

Property owners with flood damage need to contact their flood insurer to file a flood-related claim. Water damage to a vehicle is typically covered under an auto policy if the policyholder has chosen to purchase comprehensive physical damage coverage.

Many standard homeowners and renters policies provide reimbursement of additional living expenses when the property is determined to be uninhabitable due to damage. This provision helps pay for things like temporary housing, restaurant meals, overnight parking, and laundry service. Check with your insurer or agent for a list of what your policy will cover, the group advises.

“After the storm, watch out for dishonest contractors and third parties who often go door to door looking to scam homeowners in need of repairs. Before signing any contracts for repair work, talk to your insurer first to make sure the damage is covered and then find a licensed, reputable contractor to do the work,” added Brewer.


  • Contact your insurer as soon as possible to report the damage. If possible, have your policy number ready. If you are evacuated, you do not need to wait until you can return home before starting your claim. You can contact your insurer while evacuated to begin the claims process.
  • Photograph or videotape the damage to share with your insurer and keep a copy for your records.
  • Make temporary repairs if it is safe to do so. If there are holes in your roof or your windows are broken, be sure to cover them as quickly as possible to prevent further damage.
  • Save receipts for any materials you purchase to assist with repairs. You may submit them to your insurer for reimbursement.
  • Do not throw away any damaged items until an adjuster visits your home. Many insurers are utilizing a variety of virtual solutions to keep the claims process safe and efficient. You may collaborate with an adjuster via a video call instead of in-person.


  • Shovel or scrape mud off floors, furniture, and walls before the mud dries. Then hose down the walls with clean water, starting from the ceiling.
  • Major appliances, such as refrigerators and stoves, can be washed and dried completely. In most cases, they will not be damaged unless they were operating at the time the water covered them.
  • Diluted chlorine bleach can be used to clean household items, appliances, walls, and floors and will help control odors.
  • Wood furniture should be dried outdoors, but not in direct sunlight. Remove drawers and other moving parts before they dry.
  • Food utensils and equipment should be washed thoroughly and sterilized before using. Any food that is open and exposed to flood waters should be discarded.


  • Be cautious about starting a vehicle that has been exposed to flood waters, and if your vehicle is missing report it to the police.
  • If the water got above the floorboards, or the seats are wet, do not try to start the car. The electrical system is the most sensitive to water damage and trying to start the car could cause more damage.
  • Open the hood and check the air filter. If it is wet, do not try to start the car.
  • Report the loss to your auto insurer and protect the car from further damage by covering any broken windows. Water damage to a vehicle is typically covered under an auto policy if the policyholder has chosen to purchase comprehensive physical damage coverage.

Here's more info from the APCIA:

What to Do After a Hurricane []

How to Avoid Contractor Fraud & Abuse []

Flood Insurance: What You Need to Know []