7 Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim After a Storm
A storm has wrecked your house—the last thing you want to think about is paperwork! But handling your insurance claim properly after a storm is the key to a swift settlement.
A few simple steps will smooth the path. Here are seven tips for a successful claim. And while you’re waiting for the insurers, you can take steps to get your life back on track. Call the experts at All Dry USA for restoration damage after a storm.
1. Contact Your Insurer as Soon as Possible
Your insurer can’t start the claims process and authorize remediation work and repair if they don’t know the incident has happened.
Even if you live in an area with widespread damage, notify your insurer quickly and provide appropriate contact information so they can reach you.
If you or your family have special requirements or personal circumstances, highlight these when you make the call. These circumstances could include a family member with special needs or pets.
2. Assess the Damage Accurately
Insurance companies will visit the most severely damaged properties first, so be prepared to provide an accurate and non-emotional description of the property. Take pictures to keep in your records and to supply essential information to your insurer.
3. Document Your Loss
Go through each room and write an inventory listing the damaged items.
Your insurer will ask you to provide this detailed list. If the damage is so severe, it’s hard for their assessor to visualize what the storm damaged. Only you can provide that essential information.
It’s helpful with items of value to keep receipts in a secure location as these prove the date of purchase and provide a description and benchmark cost.
Electronic records are ideal. If you keep paper records, these ideally need to be in a secure location safe from fire or water damage.
4. Don’t Discard Items
For many people, it’s instinctive to start the clear-up process but don’t discard anything until the insurance assessor has visited the property.
If there is a safety imperative, for example, a dangerous household appliance that the fire services insist must be removed, then take a photo of it as a record.
5. Prevent Further Damage
You are responsible for protecting your home and possessions from further damage while waiting for an assessor to visit.
Know what services are available in your local area for removing water from the property or boarding up doors and windows. You may need to move undamaged items to a more secure location.
Usually, your insurer can help with this, but in the aftermath of severe weather events that have affected hundreds of homes, it can take insurers a couple of days to respond.
Ask your insurer whether there are any pre-approved companies they prefer to use, so you are ready if a storm strikes.
6. Keep Good Records
Many people slip up on record-keeping, and it’s understandable. Damage to your home and belongings is traumatic, making it hard to think straight.
However, good record-keeping throughout a claim is essential. It’s easy to forget dates and times in the aftermath of an incident.
Keep a timeline of what happened. Note down the names and contact information of those you speak to at your insurance company. The more organized you are, the quicker and simpler the claims process.
7. Be Prepared
It’s helpful to run through some of the immediate essentials every year when your insurance policy renews.
Know where your documents are, have the emergency claim number to hand, and keep details of remediation companies in your area so you can make essential phone calls quickly.
8. Hire a Public Adjuster
Your insurer will send a claims adjuster to visit your home and assess the damage accurately. There is no charge for this.
However, if you feel your interests need representation, or you disagree with some element of the settlement, you can hire a public adjuster to progress your claim.
A public adjuster won’t be able to secure more money than you are entitled to under the policy. However, if you struggle to manage the claim in the aftermath of a storm, they can take this burden off your shoulders—or a fee.
While these assurances may ease your worries, always insure with a reputable company. You don’t want to find out during the claims process that your insurer can’t back up your coverage.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does Insurance Cover in a Storm?
Household insurance policies cover repair to property and replacement of contents damaged in a storm.
Insurers will also cover the cost of moving occupants to alternative accommodations if the property isn’t habitable. The provider may count this as assistance towards the expenses, but they might not cover all of them, so it’s important to know what you’re entitled to under your policy.
This cover is standard on most homeowners’ and renters’ policies and is called Additional Living Expenses or ALE. Most insurance companies don’t require evidence or documentation of damage in large storms to authorize these payments.
What Kind of Damage Do I Look for After a Storm?
Look for structural damage, which may make parts of the building unsafe. Check the roof, doors, and windows.
Assess if the property still has any working services, like power and water. If these supplies are damaged, you’ll need to have the appropriate service provider visit the property before it is safe for reentry.
How Do You Prove Insurance Damage From a Storm?
Take photographs and go from room to room to make an inventory. The insurer will send an adjuster to the property to make their assessment, but this can take several days, depending on how badly the property is damaged.
Need Damage Restoration After a Storm? Call Us!
Those initial steps after a storm can make all the difference, but it’s hard to think straight when you see the damage to your home.