Now that Irene has passed, how do I get the Insurance Company to handle my damage? Part I

So, you woke up the day after Hurricane Irene blew through (if you could sleep through the wind and rain) and the house is still standing (most of it, anyway.) Or, you were evacuated and you came back to assess the damage to your home, motor vehicles and all of your most beloved personal possessions.  What do you do next?

The Maryland Insurance Commission has recently posted some useful Press Releases that should be helpful.  I would recommend that you go to this link- –

to look through the entries to see which apply to you.  They include  “Keys to Insurance Recovery from Storm Damage,” “Frequently Asked Questions After a Weather-Related Loss,”  a brochure called “Property Damage After a Loss” and a cautionary “Avoid Home Scan Repairs.”

The  “Keys to Insurance Recovery from Storm Damage” is at

Included in the Press Release are the following recommendations:

 Contact your insurance company or agent immediately to report your damage.

 As soon as it is safe, prepare a detailed inventory of all damaged or destroyed property for the insurance adjuster and for you. Include a description of the item and quantity, if more than one, date of purchase or approximate age, cost at the time of purchase, and estimated replacement cost today to the extent possible.

 Take photographs or video of the damaged areas to help document your claim and assist in the insurance company’s investigation.

 Keep all receipts for emergency repairs and for temporary living expenses if needed.

 Before removing any damaged property from the premises, be sure an insurance adjuster or your agent has evaluated the damage for their assessment. This is especially important if state or local officials begin debris removal operations on your property.

Some other important reminders when recovering from storm damage include:

 Read your policy carefully so you understand what is covered and what is not.

 If you have to relocate temporarily, make sure the insurance company or agent knows your temporary address and telephone number.

 Make only those repairs necessary to prevent any further damage to your home orbusiness. This includes covering roofs, walls or windows with plywood, canvas or other waterproof material. Do not have permanent repairs made without consulting your agent or company as unauthorized repairs may not be reimbursed.

 If your insurance company denies any part of your claim, keep all the paperwork they send you. If your area is declared a disaster by the federal government, you may be eligible to file for federal relief by providing that proof.

 If you hire a public adjuster, understand that your insurance company is not obligated to follow what a public adjuster determines to be your loss.

I will be writing about some of the helpful suggestions from the Maryland Insurance Commission in another post.  You should also know that Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley championed a new law after his election to prevent the denial and slow payment of claims by insurance companies after Hurricane Isabel.  The law gives enforcement rights to homeowners to pursue Bad Faith claims through the Insurance Commission and Maryland Courts.  I will post about this at a later time.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, you can reach the Maryland Insurance Commission at 1-800-492-6116 or online at

Or, feel free to call my office with any questions, Law Offices of Jeffrey R Scholnick, P.A at 410-494-9944

I hope this information is helpful and best of luck to you