Superstorm Sandy will undoubtedly go down as one of the most furious storms in recorded history with estimated damages topping out at $50 billion. According to Eqecat, Inc., a catastrophic risk management firm, between $10 billion and $20 billion of those damages will be insured.
Unfortunately, insured or not, there will be a handful of insurance fraudsters exploiting the devastation and losses you are experiencing for their own financial gain. Follow these simple tips to avoid becoming a victim of insurance fraud.
Tip #1: Know The Company You Are Dealing With
After a disaster like Sandy, you might get a phone call or even a personal visit from someone who claims to be an insurance agent. This person might offer you a great policy to insure yourself against any future storm damage, but they might be representing a company you’ve never even heard of. While you certainly don’t have to buy the most expensive policy from the most well-known companies, it’s very important that you find out as much information about the company as you can. Then, do your own research on the Internet. If their website looks poorly made or there are no customer reviews from trusted sources, or there are complaints about the company on Scambook, it’s a huge red flag.
Tip #2: Ask For Proof of Insurance License
Any legit insurance agent should gladly provide you with proof that they are licensed. You should also check to see if the company is licensed by your state’s department of insurance. Buying an unlicensed insurance policy is as good as giving away your money for no reason.
Tip #3: Fill Out Everything Completely
Even if you’re dealing with a legitimate insurance company that you trust, you need to fill out all paperwork completely. It’s important to read every single line and understand every detail, even if it seems like it might not matter. Also, be completely honest on your application. Don’t ever let any agent talk you into lying and most importantly, never sign a blank applications or any other blank forms. Even small errors could come back to cause you large problems later on.
Tip #4: Get Your Policy
As with anything you buy or sign up for, always get a hard copy of your insurance policy. Review the document to make sure you’re getting what you paid for and store it in a safe place. Take as much time as you need to thoroughly check the terms of coverage. If you ever need to rely on your policy, it’s vital that you understand everything so you know what to expect.