Balancing the claim process for the benefit of the insured

WHAT HAS TO BE DONE AFTER A LOSS…

All property owners are required to adhere to basic duties under their policy after suffering a loss. However, there are some additional factors that go beyond your responsibilities, which clarifies how a claim moves in an effective direction….

  1. It is a natural response to want to hurry and settle your claim and/or see immediate resolution.  In the long run, it is worth the time to go through the proper process in order to receive the proper settlement.
  2. Secure your property.  Make sure the broken windows and doors are properly boarded up to prevent theft and additional damage.  Additionally if there is roof damage make sure it is temporarily covered or “tarped”.  Remember it is your responsibility to protect your property from further damage and liability of someone getting hurt.
  3. ONLY allow temporary repairs or emergency service work to be done by a licensed contractor or emergency services company
  4. If you do not have a copy of your complete insurance policy, request in writing a “certified copy” of your policy be provided to you.  You will need an up to date policy and there is no cost to you to receive a certified copy.  While you are waiting for your certified copy of your policy, ask your insurance agent to print out a “declarations” page for you.  This will show your policy limits for your structure, personal property and additional living expenses.
  5. Be very careful before you consider hiring the insurance company’s contractor or other vendors such as restoration and cleaning companies or any type of emergency services company.  Remember they are a “preferred” vendor of the insurance company and are more interested in keeping the insurance company happy than you.
  6. Put all requests in writing to your insurance company adjuster if you are going to attempt to settle the claim on your own.  Likewise, be sure you keep a written log of all activities regarding your claim including dates and conversations with your insurance adjuster.  Documentation carries more weight and can be verified if needed.
  7. Do not allow the insurance company to place you in temporary housing which is not the same quality and size and furnishings.  You are entitled to maintain your “normal and equal” standard of living during your time of loss.   The insurance adjusting claims process is going to take longer than you expect.  Be sure to save all of your food receipts prior to placement in your temporary location, as you are entitled to reimbursement to expenses above your normal food expense.
  8. Take plenty of photographs of the damage inside and out as soon as possible.  Take wide angle shots as well as close ups of specific items in the most damaged areas.
  9. Do not allow anyone to remove, tear out, demolish any of the damaged structure until your structural claim and is fully documented.  Destroying the evidence will hurt your chances of getting your claim rightfully settled.  Do not throw away any personal property before your personal property inventory has been completed.  Be sure you have approval in writing from the insurance carrier before disposal.
  10. Most importantly, make sure you have the time to meet the different insurance company personnel at your home to conduct their own investigation.  These visits as a result of  your loss may number as many as 11 ranging from 15 minutes to 5 hours.  Do not allow these individuals or vendors to be in your home alone.

As your Public Adjuster we take over your Duties after a loss adding the experience and foresight into fully understanding what investigations are being conducted and are required to protect YOUR interest.  We will oversee every aspect of the process,  keeping your interest in the forefront and taking the necessary steps, time and experts to ensure the investigation results in a fair and balanced settlement.