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HOW TO RECEIVE YOUR INSURANCE BENEFITS IN THE WAKE OF HURRICANE ANDREW

HOW TO RECEIVE YOUR INSURANCE BENEFITS IN THE WAKE OF HURRICANE ANDREW
 NOTE TO EDITORS FROM HANOVER INSURANCE COMPANY: In the wake of Hurricane Andrew, thousands of your readers will need to file claims and receive payment for insurance coverage as fast as possible. This article is offered to help answer some of the most commonly asked questions when such a disaster strikes.
 WORCESTER, Mass., Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Hurricane Andrew's devastating path of death and destruction through Louisiana left in its wake thousands of people wondering what to do first to pull their lives back together. For most, it starts with the process of getting quick payment of insurance claims for losses suffered in the storm, so they can begin to rebuild their homes and their lives.
 Tommy Royals, Hanover Louisiana Claim Manager, offers the following advice in the form of these commonly asked questions and answers on what to do after disaster strikes.
 Q: What do I do to report my insurance claim?
 A: The first step is to call your personal insurance agent, who is
 your link to the insurance company. Call as soon as possible to
 find out exactly what coverage you have and how to expedite the
 claim process. For Hanover Insurance policyholders who have
 difficulty reaching your agent, you can call Hanover claims
 toll-free at 1-800-477-7661.
 Q: Do I need to wait for the company's permission before I start to
 clean up?
 A: No. You should use common sense in protecting your property
 from further damage. You should make all necessary temporary
 repairs, such as boarding up windows, or patching any holes in
 the roof or walls right away. You also might need to move some
 of your personal property to a safe, dry, protected area and you
 can start cleaning and drying any items damaged by water. It
 would be very helpful to take photos to show the way things
 looked before you started cleaning up. As you take some
 remedial actions, be sure to keep records of any expenses for
 the initial cleanup and repairs.
 Q: Can I hire someone to make emergency repairs?
 A: Probably you can, but you might want to check with your agent
 first if possible to see if there are any limits or
 restrictions. Most homeowners' insurance policies cover the
 necessary materials and any reasonable labor costs for
 emergency repairs.
 Q: What if my home suffered such extensive structural damage that
 I'm afraid to live in it?
 A: Clearly, you should not endanger yourself or your family. If
 your home is unsafe to live in, move to a temporary location and
 report it to the insurance company.
 Q: Where can I live while my house is being repaired?
 A: Check with your insurance company to see if your policy includes
 a provision for "Loss of Use." All homeowners policies sold by
 Hanover include such coverage which becomes available if your
 home is uninhabitable.
 Q: Will my policy cover the costs of meeting state and local
 building codes when I repair or rebuild my home?
 A: Generally, the policy will pay to put back what was there
 before. Your claim representative will be prepared to discuss
 these issues with you during the adjustment process.
 Q: Are my household contents and other personal property covered
 for their full replacement cost in today's market?
 A: The type of policy you have can make a difference here. Most
 insurance policies pay the actual cash value -- the amount equal
 to what the items were actually worth at the time of the loss.
 For example, you might have a chair that would cost $250 to
 replace today, but if the chair was five years old, the company
 would pay the depreciated value under the actual cash value
 provision. For those policyholders who paid extra premium to
 have replacement cost coverage, the company will first pay the
 depreciated value as described above. Then, after you actually
 have replaced the insured items and submitted the receipts, the
 company would pay the additional amount.
 Q: How will the company pay me?
 A: The homeowners' policy provides coverage in two parts -- one for
 the house itself and the other part for the contents. The check
 or draft in payment for losses of personal property is normally
 payable to you, the insured. The check or draft for repairs or
 replacement of the house might be payable to both you and the
 mortgage holder if there is a mortgage on your house. In many
 cases, Hanover policyholders will receive an advance check
 immediately to cover such costs as additional living expenses
 and clothing.
 Q: Will my homeowners' policy pay for flood damage?
 A: Ordinarily, flood damage is not covered under your homeowners'
 policy. Floor insurance is available through the federal
 government.
 Q: What about damage to my car?
 A: Your car is not covered under your homeowners' policy, so you
 will need to determine if you have the appropriate comprehensive
 or collision coverages. Your best bet is to check with the
 insurance agent.
 Q: How do I get started?
 A: Once you have made an initial assessment of your loss, pick up
 the telephone and call you agent or the company as soon as
 possible to get the process moving. There will be a tremendous
 number of claims submitted after Hurricane Andrew but Hanover
 Insurance and many other companies already have special
 catastrophe teams on duty ready to provide prompt, responsive
 and caring service.
 Q: How can I be better prepared the next time disaster threatens to
 strike?
 A: Hanover has developed brochures on hurricane and tornado
 preparedness. These booklets provide good advice and specific
 check lists on what to do before, during and after a hurricane
 or tornado strikes. The booklets are available from your local
 Hanover agent.
 -0- 8/26/92
 /CONTACT: Michael F. Buckley, director of media relations for Hanover, 508-855-3099/
 (HINS) CO: Hanover Insurance Company ST: Massachusetts; Louisiana IN: INS SU:


DD -- NE011 -- 3695 08/26/92 17:43 EDT
COPYRIGHT 1992 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Aug 26, 1992
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