When you make a property insurance claim, there are a number of issues that you need to consider. In this article, we are going to discuss seven tips to help in that process.
1. Contact Your Insurance Company Immediately
This does not mean call the insurance agent who sold you the homeowner’s policy you are now filing a claim for. The agent you bought your policy through is more likely to be versed in sales than the intricacies of filing and managing a claim for damages. Keep a copy of your homeowner’s insurance policy handy and call the contact number in the policy.
Some insurance companies require that you contact them within a certain timeframe after the damage to your property occurs. Do not delay. In addition to increasing the time you spend with damage to your home, your claim might be denied because you didn’t follow your policy’s guidance.
The sooner you get your claim started, the sooner you can get back to normal.
2. Document Everything That Was Damaged
This means you should take pictures of everything in the state it was after the loss. It is imperative that you record all the damage because it could take a few days for your insurance adjuster to come and inspect your property, particularly if your home was damaged in a weather event that affected many other people too.
This is especially important if your policy requires that you take action to mitigate further damage. If you need to put a tarp over the hole in your roof, but you need to clear debris away to do so, you need to have evidence of where the debris was before you moved it to secure your property against further damage. If your pipes burst and you need to shut off the water main to keep further water damage from occurring, you need evidence of how much water initially leaked from the damaged piping.
If you don’t take the pictures beforehand, your insurance company has no way of knowing what the state of your home was before you started mitigating ongoing damage, and they might deny parts of your claim because of it.
3. Don’t Start Any Repairs Until You Talk to Your Insurance Company
Your insurer has to approve repairs before you start them in order to make sure you get reimbursed for what you spend. Insurance claim adjusters in Florida are particularly familiar with the difference between water damage and flood damage. One is covered by your standard policy and the other is not. If you enlist a contractor to start repairs on flood damage, you will be paying out of pocket for that.
Furthermore, you need to understand the cost of your damages before you can hire contractors to do any work. Your insurance company will have a cap that they pay for different kinds of damage, and you will have to pay a deductible before they reimburse you.
4. Understand the Kind of Damage You Have
Work with your insurer to know what kind of damage there is to your property and what it will take to repair it. Insurance claim adjusters in Florida deal with storm damage on a regular basis due to hurricanes, and they can help you understand what kind of claim you will be filing, including water, wind, structural and more.
5. Be Present for the Process
Make sure you are there when the insurance adjuster is making their assessment, or you hire a public adjuster to be present when they arrive and make sure they see the full extent of the damage to your home, including water damage to the interior drywall. Make note of any disagreement you have with the insurance adjuster, and notify your insurance company immediately if you do not feel the adjuster they sent is knowledgeable, competent, or otherwise qualified to make a report, but do so immediately.
6. Be Wary of Shady Contracts
Don’t sign any contract for repairs if it is the first one you see. Make sure to get second opinions, especially if your insurance company is the one sending the contractor. Sometimes there is a benefit to using a contractor that is sent by your insurer: usually they have vetted them to make sure they do good work, however, there is a limitation on what they can make if they are being paid a fixed rate by your insurance company and they may not do their best work. Unless you are required to use a contractor through your insurance company, always shop around for a contractor you are comfortable with in a price range that is in your budget.
7. Ask for Undisputed Money Upfront
Ask your insurance company to give you the money upfront for anything that is not under dispute, particularly if your home is unlivable and you will need additional living expenses while the claims and repair process is going on. Insurance claim adjusters in Florida are used to these requests from people who cannot occupy a home that was mostly destroyed by wind damage from a hurricane.
Why You Need Continental Public Adjusters
Continental Public Adjusters is proud to serve the entire state of Florida in handling property claims, and they have the experience to help you get the most out of your policy.
If you have a new property claim, or even worse if your claim is denied, delayed or underpaid, you need an experienced public adjuster.
Continental Public Adjusters will do five key things for you:
1. Advocate: Our sole responsibility is to make sure you receive the maximum recovery for your loss.
2. Review: A comprehensive investigation helps us understand each specific type of loss. With our experts and consultants, we begin to determine the overall value of your property loss.
3. Estimate: Using the latest cost estimating software to prepare supporting documentation and provide to your carrier.
4. Adjust: We will adjust your claim and negotiate with your insurance company adjuster to reach a settlement meeting your approval, in your best interest.
5. Maximize: We can foresee issues and obstacles in the claims process with the experience that comes from settling thousands of claims, and will work to reach your maximum benefit.
Start with a free consultation with one of our team members to learn about your options. Continental Public Adjusters, Inc. has 38 years of experience successfully settling thousands of claims related to both personal and commercial property in the state of Florida.