Trained staff at DFS mobile command center will help victims with insurance issues; victims also urged to call DFS disaster hotline at 1-800-339-1759 for assistance
Governor outlines resources and advice for victims dealing with insurance companies
Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo deployed the Department of Financial Services' mobile command center to West Seneca to help homeowners and businesses affected by recent flooding. Cuomo also outlined resources and advice for victims who are dealing with their insurance companies to help them get the relief to which they are entitled as quickly as possible, including the availability of a DFS disaster hotline at 1-800-339-1759.
"My administration is deploying a mobile command center on the ground in West Seneca to provide direct assistance to New Yorkers impacted by this flooding," Cuomo said. "Trained staff from the Department of Financial Services will be available to offer help and advice to victims in dealing with their insurance companies and other issues so that they can start rebuilding their homes and lives."
Benjamin M. Lawsky, superintendent of financial services, said, "There are a number of important steps New Yorkers can take to help speed up their insurance claims after a natural disaster. The process of rebuilding can be exceptionally daunting, but we'll continue to do everything we can to make sure victims receive the relief to which they are entitled from insurers."
Mobile Command Center Deployment, DFS Disaster Hotline
At Cuomo's direction, DFS representatives are deploying to assist victims with insurance-related issues stemming from the recent flooding. The department's representatives will be inside the agency's mobile command center, which will be stationed at the following location from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and tomorrow:
•Winchester Community Church
909 Harlem Road, West Seneca
Impacted families and business are also urged to call the DFS disaster hotline for assistance at 1-800-339-1759. This is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Resources for Victims, Advice for Dealing with Insurers
Cuomo also outlined resources and advice for impacted families and businesses dealing with their insurance companies. These include steps to help ensure their claims are processed promptly, as well as information on how to file a complaint if they cannot resolve a dispute with their insurer.
•File Claims Promptly. Homeowners who experienced property losses are urged to file insurance claims with their insurers promptly and as soon as possible after losses occur. It is important to provide policy numbers, if possible, and all information relevant to the loss. To best document losses, homeowners should take photos or videos showing the extent of the losses before cleaning up damage.
•Making Necessary Repairs. Homeowners should protect their property from further damage after a loss, but should make only necessary repairs to prevent further damage to property, like covering broken windows. Permanent repairs should not be made until after insurers have inspected losses.
•Keep Records of Dealings with Insurance Representatives. Homeowners should cooperate fully with their insurer and keep a diary of all conversations with insurance representatives, including the representatives' names, as well as the times and dates of all calls or visits. They should also follow up in writing with the representatives to document their understanding of any conversations they've had with the representatives.
•Inventory Your Belongings. Provide your insurer with a detailed room-by-room inventory of damaged personal items and property. Include any receipts, credit card or other documents showing the items' values.
•Flood Damage. Homeowners are also reminded flood damage is generally only covered by flood insurance, which is a federal program administered by FEMA. Homeowners who have flood insurance and have flood damage should make claims through that insurance. Additionally, homeowners should read their policies carefully to make sure they understand what damage is covered and under what circumstances. For additional information on flood insurance, visit the Flood Insurance Resource Center on the DFS website at http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/flood_info.htm.
•Keep Your Receipts If You Relocate During Repairs. If you need to temporarily relocate while your home is being repaired, make sure to keep receipts and other records of your expenses during that time.
•Filing a Complaint. Homeowners unable to resolve disputes can contact DFS to file a complaint at: http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/fileacomplaint.htm.
•Information on Homeowners Insurance. Additional information can be found at the Homeowners Resource Center on the Department of Financial Services' website: www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/home_resources.htm.