5 Things USAA members need to know about Hurricane Flo

Eric Dehm
September 13, 2018 - 11:41 am

Photo courtesy NOAA

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Whether Hurricane Florence makes landfall as a Category 2, 3, 4 or more there will be serious damage to homes and businesses. Insurance companies will play a large part in the recovery of those areas, including USAA whose members are predominantly military and veteran families.

USAA spokesman Rich Johnson has advice on how to get ready if you're in a hurricane's path and may have to file a claim:

1. Don't Assume You're Covered

Do you have flood insurance? If you think you have it through USAA or any other insurer, and you own your home, you are wrong. The National Flood Insurance Policy for homes is through FEMA. Only USAA renter policies have flood insurance. Johnson says knowing what your insurance does and doesn't cover will be helpful to both you and the insurer when making a claim, and might offer some benefits you weren't aware of.

"There may be some benefits out there that could be available to you but it really just depends on your insurance policy and what you have with USAA or any other carrier." 

2. Take Pictures

You can make a list of all your posessions... or, as Johnson recommends, you could save a lot of time by taking some pictures and shooting some video. 

"Take your phone and snap some pictures in each of the rooms. Stand in the middle of your living room, your dining room, your family room and just take a 360 video of it with your phone or your camera and e-mail it to yourself or save it to a Google drive. Then you know you have that digital home inventory. It just makes that claims process so much easier."

3. Don't Wait To File Claims 

USAA.com/help

After the storm has passed, Johnson recommends contacting your insurer ASAP. They don't need time to stage their response teams or field adjustors, in fact USAA already has Catastrophe Response Units in place just outside of the impact zone ready to get in and immediately start addressing claims when the authorities allow it.

"They're basically roving USAA officer. They can conduct any business that they need to, members can stop by... you can start a claim, start a policy, swing by and get a bottle of water or charge up your phone, we try to make it as welcoming as possible."

All USAA field adjustors in the surrounding areas are also staged and ready to assist members. 

You can file claims online at USAA.com/help and you can also file via the USAA mobile app.

4. Keep Your Receipts

Johnson says it's imperative that you account for anything you pay for as a result of the hurricane. Depending on your policy, you may be eligible for reimbursement for a number of storm-related costs, including minor necessary repairs. 

"If you can make a couple temporary repairs, if you have a broken window and there's rain expected, you don't want to cause any further damage or have the weather cause any further damage so if you can make those quick repairs, that's a good thing. Keep all your receipts, all of that could be reimbursible under your insurance policy if you do make some repairs, and then give USAA a call."

5. Watch Out For Scam Artists

There are scumbags in this world that see those who are suffering and see a target. Johnson says it's important to deal only with businesses you know are reputable as you recover from a natural disaster.

"Every time a storm hits, fraudsters and unscrupulous contractors want to come in. If you have people starting to roam through your neighborhood offering a deal that's too good to be true, as they say, it probably is. Work with your insurance provider, the Better Business Bureau, the local county or local authorities to find those good quality contractors. There's nothing worse than getting taken after a tragedy; you're just compiling tragedy after tragedy and we don't wanna see that happen. So be on the lookout."

You can hear the full interview with USAA's Rich Johnson below. Click Play to stream now or click Share and select Download to listen later.

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