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Hurricane Matthew

After living through the stress of Hurricane Matthew, I want to make sure that our readers are not victimized by the aftermath of this weather event. Please consider the following:

· Many traffic signal are not yet working. Remember that a non-functioning traffic signal should be treated as a stop sign. After stopping proceed cautiously through the intersection.

· If your home or commercial property was damaged you should: (i) take steps to secure the structure; (ii) take pictures of the damaged area; and, (iii) contact your insurance agent or company by phone to advise the company of the policy claim. For example, if a tree fell on your roof and did damage, you need to remove the tree to minimize damage ad take immediate steps to secure the roof from the elements. Take many pictures from different angles of the tree and impacted roof. It may take the insurance adjuster several days to inspect your home and confirm (or deny) coverage. Meanwhile, you need to take steps to build your potential case and protect your evidence.

· Be very careful about the company you hire to do work for you. We all want the damage to be resolved and "go away" as quickly as possible. However, there are people and companies out there that are not licensed to perform the services they claim they can do, overcharge for the contracted work. Try to get work references from neighbors, friends, and other you trust. Make sure the company is duly licensed and when required by law, secures a building permit. Check with the appropriate buildings official where the property is located to determine whether a permit is required. Typical behaviors of unscrupulous or fraudulent contractors include: (i) telling you that a work permit is not required, when it is; (ii) requiring up-front payment in full prior to commencing the work (depending on the size of the project, 10-50% is the normal; (iii) refusing to provide a copy of their contractor's licensing for the work performed; or (iv) not providing references for prior work.

· The extent to which your loss is covered by your insurance policy depends upon the specific language of the policy. Should your insurance company deny coverage, we will be happy to look at your policy for you at no charge. Also, even if you receive a check for the insurance company and find out the actual damages was more expensive than first though, you are still entitled be compensated for these additional repairs.

Just as you planned and prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, you need to plan and prepare for the post-hurricane repairs.

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