Insurance Claims – Do not Stay in a Hurry!
Tornadoes, Floods, Wildfires…and we simply started Hurricane Season!
After the March tornadoes, I posted a Top 10 List of very important items to do after your home is destroyed in a disaster. In the next 10 postings, I am going to expand on every one of the techniques in the Top 10 List.
Again in March, we right here in the metro Atlanta region had an F4 tornado hit the downtown part of Atlanta. The tornado did aproximatelly $300 million in damages. About a month later on, another team of twisters hit between Macon and Atlanta, doing about exactly the same amount of damage.
Today, we are seeing tornadoes all around the center of the USA, and substantial flooding has struck 4 or perhaps 5 states, affecting thousands and thousands of individuals. And do not forget about the wildfires charring Southern California.
But…cheer up! We’ve much Hurricane Season which started June one, and moves until the conclusion of November!!
The very first strategy in the Top 10 List is….SLOW DOWN.
How often have you noticed an insurance company’s stereo or perhaps television commercial say how quickly they settle claims? That really sounds great, does not it? Who would not eat their case settled quickly?
But my knowledge is that hastily settled statements are settled much below what they’re worth. It is almost like the policyholder or perhaps claimant becomes willing to make the insurance companies a huge discount in exchange for the speed of obtaining a settlement check.
Do not be one of those individuals that are driven by a fast settlement check.
I am not saying that you need to drag the feet of yours and be uncooperative along the way. You ought to be very cooperative…but on the own terms of yours, not the insurance company’s phrases. I am saying that in case you’re in charge of the claims activity like you must be, it won’t generally be speedy.
The process is going to move along in a businesslike fashion, but you mustn’t let yourself be rushed right into a settlement. Even when the insurance company directs you an inspection before you are prepared to settle, you are not needed to cash it.
Let us take a look at the first 24 48 hours after you’ve a loss. It actually doesn’t matter whether your loss is large or small or perhaps a jumbo catastrophic catastrophe. It doesn’t matter whether your damage is a home loss…like a hurricane or perhaps fire or tornado, or perhaps a casualty loss…like a car crash. You will find a few things that you have to do to guard yourself, the family of yours and the property of yours.
FIRE, CATASTROPHIC WINDSTORM (HURRICANE/TORNADO) Or perhaps FLOOD CLAIMS
Very first THING TO DO Would be to CONTROL THE SITUATION
1. Make every person that is sure is good and accounted for…including the domestic pets.
2. Get medical attention for people in the household that requires it…including the pets.
3. Contact your public energy companies. Have them send out a tech support to turn off the water, gas and power immediately. That itself is going to increase the security element in your broken dwelling.
Talk with the Fire Marshall as well as the nearby Building Inspector about the security of the dwelling. You need to be certain it is protected for you to get into the dwelling after the damage. If it’s not safe, do not go in there…no matter what. You are able to change STUFF, but you can’t replace YOURSELF.
AFTER THE UTILITIES Actually are SHUT OFF, AND Prior to the RESTORATION COMPANY BOARDS UP THE DWELLING…SAFELY do another step.
4. Camera work
Get hold of a video digital camera as well as a few of video tapes. You may need a floodlight or any other pretty powerful battery-powered light. If your dwelling is good to stroll through, shoot video footage of every last home in the home in which there’s damage. Get footage from every angle in each and every room. Be sure you take footage of your respective damaged contents. Shoot footage inside closets…in wide open drawers, inside cabinets, on bookshelves, inside boxes, in the storage area where a lot of junk is stored. Take shots of all 4 sides of the home of yours from the outside. Get footage of the trash in the yard, particularly in case it’s contents products which the fire department threw away in the backyard.
In case you cannot obtain a video camera, then simply make use of a camera and get still photos. In case you cannot get a digicam, make use of a 35mm camera. Make use of the digital camera in the mobile phone of yours. Heck, use disposable cameras. Simply Use the PHOTOS AND GET The DAMAGES of yours ON FILM!!
Do not give your film negatives or perhaps authentic videotape on the adjuster. Give copies of the pictures and videos, in case they request them. Monitor the expenses of yours for pictures and videos…you can recoup that cost.
Want to know exactly why camera work is very critical?
-A photo may be worth a 1000 words.
-Photos trigger memories, and also remind you of creating and contents products that were destroyed or perhaps damaged.
-Time is of the heart. If you are adjuster cannot get to the property of yours for a few days (or perhaps days in hurricane losses), plus you have to guard your property, you are able to very carefully photograph the areas that you’re protecting before you cover them or modify them. The way, you have preserved proof of the damages.
5. Notify the relatives of yours or perhaps closest friends of the damage. Relatives and friends might be very helpful to you…but only in case YOU control the things they’re doing.
A. Don’t take advice from your relatives and friends, unless they’ve experienced a loss EXACTLY love yours, and have been successful in obtaining every dollar they had been owed. If that really happened, they most likely have a copy of the book and followed the advice of mine to the letter.
B. Friends and relatives may be excellent witnesses of the harm. They’re able to help take video clips and photos. They may be witnesses when you see with the adjuster or perhaps the contractor of yours. They could babysit for you. They will be able to save things temporarily for you. They could look after the pets of yours. They could generate beer runs to the market for you while you are taking care of the claim of yours.
6. Notify the insurance business. It’s absolutely appropriate to phone the agent or perhaps business case division first, but be mindful that many policies demand that you to report a case on paper. Ensure you understand what the policy language of yours says regarding distributing a Notice of Loss. This’s CRUCIAL!!! When you don’t notify the insurance company of yours of the loss of yours in the manner the policy states to perform it, the claim of yours may be denied.
7. Determine what it is going to draw to secure the home of yours and shield it from additional loss. This’s part of the duty of yours inside your insurance contract. If needed, contact a catastrophe restoration provider to board up the structure, or perhaps tarp the roof, or perhaps extract the bath, etc. In case you Perform the WORK YOURSELF, Or perhaps ALLOW OTHERS TO DO FREE WORK FOR YOU, THE INSURANCE COMPANY Might not PAY YOU FOR The TIME of yours.
8. SERIOUSLY CONSIDER HIRING A public adjuster (PA) IN The very first 24 48 HOURS (see Chapter 9 about Public Adjusters in the book) of mine.
9. In case you have to contact an emergency service provider or perhaps catastrophe restoration contractor, go on the sites listed below to locate it.
SUPER IMPORTANT TIP!!!
A restoration contractor is different than a general contractor. Most general contractors that do remodeling or perhaps brand new construction don’t have the abilities and understanding that a restoration contractor has.
For starters, the restoration contractor is extremely knowledgeable about the insurance claims procedure, as well as just how insurance companies pay for vehicle repairs. The restoration contractors work with similar estimating software to which utilized by the adjusters as well as insurance companies. A general contractor that submits an appraisal within an unacceptable type to the insurance provider or perhaps adjuster merely annoys them, and also lowers the claim of yours.
One more reason to look for restoration contractor is they’re normally full service contractors. They are going to be ready to do temporary or perhaps emergency cleanup as well as board up. They are going to own the equipment for drying out and water damage remediation. They’re acquainted with the damage types that fires, wind and liquid do to houses. Lastly, they’re experts at composing accurate estimates for these particular types of damages.
General contractors who don’t make money in insurance restoration don’t have this type of experience and equipment. Period.
You are able to also look in the local Yellow Pages of yours under “Disaster Restoration,” or perhaps “Fire Restoration,” or perhaps “Water Damage Restoration.” Search for logos that say “DKI,” or perhaps “AAORC.” or “ASCR,”
DKI – Disaster Kleen up International. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, is a system of the top independent property damage restoration contractors across North America. You are able to request a referral at 888-735-0800, plus discover them at: http://www.disasterkleenup.com
ASCR – The Association of Specialists in Restoration and Cleaning, Inc. is the top trade association for Restoration and Cleaning experts around the world, and also the foremost authority, educator and trainer in the industry. You are able to request a referral in the area of yours at 800-272-7012, or perhaps the site: http://www.ascr.org
AAORC – American Association Of Restoration Contractors, is a national community of reliable and reputable restoration contractors who provide top notch restoration services. You are able to contact them toll totally free at 866-771-1525, or perhaps look them up on the internet.
Call no less than 2 restoration contractors, if practical. Ask them to meet up with you at your house to examine the damage within twenty four hours of the damage.
Remember this essential point…there is NOTHING in the policy of yours which requires you to get 2 or three estimates. Meeting 2 contractors is simply an intelligent way to find one you like best and would like to work with. Check out the references of theirs, and get them for a summary of customer that is satisfied that you are able to call by phone. Just AFTER THE CONTRACTOR CHECKS OUT must you employ him.
10. TIME TO GET ORGANIZED
Start A Document File
I will grow on this stage in a later post since it is really important and there is a great deal to say about it. Just go get yourself a package with a lid to begin with. Do not wait…do it correctly away!!
11. Meet the adjuster. (First, read through Chapter 7, Claims Adjusters.)
The next procedure is what an experienced claims adjuster Must do at your very first meeting: Introduce himself and also offer you the business card of his.
Sit down along with you FIRST and clarify what he’s intending to do.
Find out from you in case you have previously had a loss before.
READ The POLICY of yours WITH YOU, and respond to every one of the questions of yours.
Explain in detail the promises procedure, as well as the actions he’ll be taking.
Show you, the insured, what your duties are in the promises process.
Next, after many of that…..he must inspect the damage of yours.
If your adjuster doesn’t do the above, in essentially that order…you should understand that you might have a problem instantly.
Here is one more tip about adjusters. Most adjusters are likeable folks, and try their utmost to get along and also be pleasurable. Occasionally, you will find an adjuster who’s sharp, rude, and disagreeable tongued. If you discover you do not get together with the independent adjuster that’s been given to the claim of yours, call the supervisor of his and request another adjuster be given to this claim. Make your demand tactfully but firmly. You don’t need to take poor treatment and abuse from an adjuster. If the claims supervisor will not change the adjuster, contact the insurance company and also ask them to designate the case to the next adjusting company.
When you are working with the insurance company’s staff members adjuster, as well as getting treated badly, phone the boss of his and firmly ask for an additional adjuster. If the supervisor does not cooperate, go to the supervisor of his. Keep increasing the ladder until you will get everything you need. In case not any of the works, phone the State Department of yours of Insurance and file a complaint.
Often times you are able to meet the adjuster at the location of yours on the exact same day as the damage occurred. That is the perfect situation. Some damages may be mitigated (made much less severe) by the pace which cleanup begins. For instance, you’ve an icemaker supply line which bursts while you’re out, and the white oak wood floor in the dining room of yours gets very wet. When you are able to buy the water up off the floor, and drying out gear in the home quickly, the floor may not enlarge and buckle…and the floor may be saved. If you’d to wait 1 2 times because of the adjuster to show up, the floor would probably need to be replaced at higher cost.