Experiencing a disaster, whether it’s fire, water or storm related, is always difficult. Some homeowners go their entire lives without needing to make an insurance claim. But understanding how to navigate the home insurance claim process gives you a better chance to recover the money you deserve in a reasonable time frame. Knowing what to expect and what you need to do will make a big difference in how quickly you get on track to your normal lifestyle.
Secure Your Family and Property
In the midst of property damage, your first priority should be securing the safety of your family and your property. Depending on your situation, this may mean relocating your family, calling 911, or calling utility providers to turn off electricity or gas. After everyone is safe, you may decide to take measures to save valuable items. It’s not worth putting yourself in danger, removing personal items can keep them from being destroyed.
Notify the Insurance Company
After the loss has occurred, you should notify the insurance company as soon as possible. A customer service representative will walk you through each necessary step. The biggest mistake you can make when something goes wrong with your home is to delay in calling the insurance company. A lot of times people forget that the whole reason you have insurance is to protect and help you. Next, a claim number and a claims adjuster will be assigned to your claim. He or she will determine how much, if any, your insurance company will pay toward your claim.
If you have questions about the policy or need assistance, contact your insurance agent. They are familiar with what carriers expect and with what your personal policy requests. Work with your agent and have them explain what’s expected from you.
Contact a Reputable Restoration Company
Consulting with an expert as quickly as possible could reduce or minimize the damage to your home and personal belongings. You need an expert to secure your property, safeguard your belongings, assess the home’s damage and provide the necessary services to repair your home’s structure.
When your contractor arrives, you will need to sign an agreement authorizing them to conduct work in your home. The contractor will perform the work, the insurance company will reimburse you, then you will pay the contractor. If there are issues with insurance coverage, you will still be responsible for payment. This is why it’s a good idea to get your insurance company in the loop quickly. As an experienced restoration company, Xtreme Home Improvement will work with you and your provider to make sure the process runs smoothly and your home is returned to pre-loss condition.
Conduct an inventory of damaged property and items. If you have a smart phone, take video or pictures. Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made and approval to dispose has been given by insurance provider. Also, try to locate valuable documents and records. Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to the loss. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and for verifying losses claimed on income tax.
Working with the Insurance Claims Adjuster
Many claims will be assigned to a claim settlement expert, who is your adjuster. He or she may work directly for the insurance company, or may be an independent adjuster under contract with the company. Either one has the responsibility to ensure that your claim receives prompt attention. They are your contact with the insurance company for the life of the claim. Most adjusters work hard to be professional, courteous, and conscientious on every claim.
The claims adjuster will evaluate your claim to determine how much compensation you should receive and whether or not the incident will be legitimately covered by your policy. The insurance adjuster will arrive at your premises to complete an inspection. The adjuster wants to ensure the damage legitimately occurred during a covered incident. The adjuster also wants to verify how much it will cost to restore the damage to its pre-loss condition.
The insurance company will want you to submit an inventory of your damaged, destroyed, or stolen items. The adjuster will help you obtain estimates to repair the damage. The contractor and the adjuster may meet to discuss the repairs. You will be advised of the total estimated repair costs and any deductibles that might apply. During this process you will likely be required to complete a Proof of Loss. This is a requirement of the policy that itemizes your loss. It is important and should be carefully and completely filled out.
The claim is completed after you have reached agreement with your adjuster on the amount of the payment to be made to you by the insurance company. If you have a lien against your property, such as a mortgage, you may find your name and the name of the mortgage holder on the claim check. It is important that you clarify any escrow procedure for these funds with your mortgage company.
Don’t Be Intimidated
There are a lot of moving pieces and the language may be unfamiliar, but there is no need to be overwhelmed. Keep in mind that it is a business transaction and treat it as such. No matter how well you know your agent or how long you have been with the company, the dollar signs on the bottom line are the most important thing to recovering from damage to your home. The best way to get your money’s worth in a claim and get the maximum amount payable is having a strong understanding of the claims process and what you are rightfully entitled to based on your insurance policy. Be prepared, be professional, be cooperative and be assertive … when you need to be.
In the unfortunate event that a property damage claim needs to be filed, you can count on Xtreme Home Improvement to provide the highest quality restoration services for your home after a disaster or other home damage. All of our restoration services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including emergency service, inspections, and guaranteed satisfaction. Our dedication to providing you with the best customer service, highest quality materials and efficient construction is designed to leave you stress-free, satisfied, and safe at home.