Share These 5 Tips with Employees Affected by Natural Disasters

Scams and identity theft are just two things workers need to avoid after a catastrophic event.
By: | October 4, 2018 • 3 min read
Hurricane Florence

After a disaster like Hurricane Florence, your employees may face legal and financial matters for days, weeks or even months as they work to recover and rebuild.

Help your employees face common challenges by sharing these five tips for dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster.

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  1. Know your rights and responsibilities regarding property damage.

After a disaster, you may have issues with your home, ranging from determining who is responsible for cleaning up to knowing when to keep making payments. ARAG Network Attorney Bryan Fears knows most of us don’t read our homeowners policy to know what’s covered and what isn’t. “Now is the time to read that policy and take steps to ensure you’re getting all the help you’re due,” Fears says.

Beyond your individual policy, you’ll want to understand the laws, which vary by state. But in general assume if you’re a homeowner that:

  • You’re responsible for clean-up and disposal;
  • Your insurance company may be obligated to pay for clean-up and removal if fallen limbs or other debris cause damage to your home, fence or driveway; and
  • If debris came from your neighbor’s yard, you’re still obligated to pay for clean-up unless you can prove that your neighbor’s negligence led to the damage. In general, your neighbor’s policy covers his/her house and property, and your policy covers your house and property.

If you lease and don’t own the property, your landlord is most likely responsible for repairs but is not liable for any personal injury or property damage resulting from a natural disaster.

  1. Watch for consumer scams.

Price gouging, refinancing schemes and home-repair scams are common after natural disasters, says ARAG Network Attorney Cecilia Armenteros. People struggling to afford the necessary renovations “are prime targets for fake contractors that may swoop in and promise a very low fee to help them recover and then disappear with their money.”

To help guard against these incidents, make sure you:

  • Never pay any money without reviewing and signing a contract;
  • Ask for references, proof of insurance and licensing as required by your city and/or state;
  • Resist any pressure to make quick or uninformed financial decisions;
  • Don’t let anyone convince you to borrow more money than you know you can afford or make false statements on a loan application; and
  • Research all lenders, contractors, appraisers, etc. with the Attorney General’s Office or Better Business Bureau.
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