After a disaster or any major storm, people often need to file a claim with their insurance company. These claims can be for damage to a homes, belongings, or vehicles. There are several things you’ll need to do and documentation to have ready when getting the process started. We’ll also talk about a few things to do while you’re waiting on a response from your insurance company.
Start By Calling Your Insurance Agent/Company.
Getting the insurance claim process started early allows for a quicker resolution. Often, Insurance companies have specific forms they want you to use when filing a claim or processes to follow. It’s important to find out what your company’s process is and if there are any special procedures you should be following.This helps make sure you get off on the right foot for recovery. Additionally, a lot of disaster recovery programs require that you make a claim with your insurance company before they help too much.
Make a List & Take Photographs of the Damage.
Conditions are always changing after a disaster, especially if it’s been several weeks. Keep in mind, the insurance company usually has a lot of claims being filed after a disaster. Though your insurance company does have a limited timeframe to accept or reject your claim, that process can last almost a month. Thus, you want to make sure and document everything. Photographs or video of the damage is very helpful. This includes for your belongings. Try to be as specific as possible when listing the items. It may be hard to do so, but it generally helps the claim process. You can make minor repairs to help prevent the damage from getting worse, but be sure not to throw anything away before talking to your insurance company about it. If you don’t have documentation of the damage that was there before the repairs or the items that were damaged (like a tv), they could refuse to pay for it.
Receipt? Yes, please!
When filing an insurance claim, you need to be able to prove the expenses. Some policies will actually cover some of the expenses of your evacuation. But you need a receipt. Additionally, if you make repairs before the adjuster arrives to keep the damage from getting worse, make sure to keep the receipts from it.
Get a Few Repair Estimates.
After a disaster, everyone is on a budget. Victims of the disaster are trying to make sure they can get back to normal and insurance companies are trying to make sure they don’t go broke. But that doesn’t stop contractors from trying to overcharge for work. Thus, when you’re trying to get repairs done, it’s smart to get a few different estimates from different vendors. Two or three is a good number to use. Once you find a vendor you’d like to work with, it would be wise to allow them to meet with the insurance adjustor when they come out to inspect the home or property. That way it gives the contractor an opportunity to discuss the scope of work and what it will take to actually get the repairs done right. It also can help cut down on potential fraud.
If You Are Not Living on the Property, Leave a Note With How to Contact You.
After a disaster, sometimes you can’t live in your home until repairs are made. If you leave, make sure that you put a note or sign up with how to contact you. Just in case an insurance adjuster shows up while you’re away from the area. Always talk to your insurance company on who exactly to expect and when to expect them. Keep in mind that insurance companies often employ their own adjusters to evaluate damage at no charge to you. There are entities called “public adjustors” that are legitimate and will usually charge 10-15% of any settlement. However, you don’t have to hire a public adjustor to get your insurance claim processed. Though most public adjustors are honest companies and people, there are scams where fake adjustors charge a large fee to “evaluate” your claim, without actually doing any work.
What Can you Do Before a Disaster to Make a Claim Easier?
Before a disaster, it is a good idea is to make a home inventory either by writing it or by doing the same video tape method prior to the disaster. This can be incredibly time consuming, but also incredibly important to your claim.
– The Business Team
Scott | Josh | Jeremy
The Allen Firm, PC
181 S. Graham Street | Stephenville, Texas 76401
Ph: 254.965.3185 | Fax: 254.965.6539
The Allen Firm, PC is composed of a team of attorneys located in Stephenville, Texas. Our mission is to improve people’s lives by providing reliable and practical help with their legal matters while operating under our values of honoring people, operating with integrity and striving for excellence. We offer help in forming businesses or companies, estate planning, lawsuits, real estate, probate, oil and gas, collections, agriculture, bankruptcy, family law, and accident and injuries.
*This article has been written and provided for educational purposes in an attempt to provide the reader with a general understanding of the particular topic and area of law covered in this Article. It is not to be relied upon for any purpose. The reader acknowledges the underlying analysis and legal conclusions referenced in this Article may be inaccurate by the changing of the law or by a controlling court opinion to the contrary. No attorney-client relationship exists until an appropriate engagement letter has been signed. Contact our Firm to discuss how the contents of this Article may apply to your specific situation.
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