Prepare in case you must file a claim with your insurance company
Save all receipts and begin making temporary repairs.
Rocio Albanes was one of numerous central Floridians suing their insurance companies for inadequate claim compensation after the hurricanes of 2004. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel )
Try to call your insurance agent immediately.
Save all receipts. Do not attempt to make permanent repairs until an insurance adjuster has inspected the home.
Most homeowner-insurance policies provide for removal of trees or branches that have fallen on your home.
If your home is uninhabitable or you move somewhere else temporarily, let your insurer know where you can be reached.
Don't assume that adjusters will know what street they are on; street signs may have blown away. Industry officials say spray-painting important information on homes after a hurricane is effective. Your name and correct address should be sufficient for an adjuster to match you and your policy. Don't include your policy number; someone else may take advantage of that. Insurers usually send adjusters to the worst-hit homes first.
Confused about your policy?
Get moving. With hurricane season here, homeowners need to find out what's covered and what's not. Experts say you should take a thorough look at your policy, and if you have any questions, call your insurance agent. It's no fun poring through fine print, but that's the only way to find out, for example, whether you'd have to replace damaged carpet yourself.
Do your homework to make sure you can weather a storm financially.
Here are phone numbers, some of which are activated only after a storm:
•Florida Department of Financial Services, 1-800-342-2762, or its Disaster Assistance Insurance Helpline, 1-800-227-8676
•Citizens Property Insurance: 1-866-411-2742
•Chartis, formerly AIG: 1-800-242-2418
The Hartford: 1-800-243-5860 or 877-805-9918 (AARP)
•Liberty Mutual: 1-800-225-2467