It all starts when you have a loss. Click here for an explanation of an insurance loss. The first thing you should do is contact your insurance company and get a claim started. This is usually done through your agent, but most companies have a claim page on their website as well.
Depending on the type of loss, you may have some work to do at the house. One of your main responsibilities, written into your policy, is to reduce or eliminate the possibility of further damage, to the best of your ability. For example, if you have water damage, you should call a water damage mitigation company. They will take steps to clean up any standing water and prevent mold growth. Click here for more about the mitigation process. Or if you have structural damage, you should call a contractor to stabilize the area and cover any exposed areas with a tarp. Click here for more about contractors.
The insurance company will send out an adjuster to review the damage. The adjuster will take measurements and pictures, and will produce an estimate of the cost to repair the damage. This brings up something that most homeowners are not aware of. This document is not the end of the process. It is not something that must be accepted regardless of whether you think it is correct. If you believe that the estimate produced by the insurance company is not enough, you have options.
You can dispute anything in the estimate, as long as you have evidence to back it up. Sometimes this is easy to get, and sometimes you need professional help. A public adjuster does the same work as the company adjuster, but is representing the policyholder instead of the insurance company. They will find every little bit to add to the estimate, and have the training and credibility to back it up. Click here for more about public adjusters.
If you or your public adjuster produce a proper estimate and the insurance company still refuses to pay, there is another option. Written into most insurance policies is an appraisal clause. It’s like an arbitration. You and the insurance company both pick an independent appraiser. The two appraisers pick a neutral umpire. Any issues which are in dispute are examined, and agreement of any two binds the decision. Click here for more about the appraisal process.
The majority of claims are settled favorably with these options. Occasionally one is more difficult, and will require legal action. Click here for more about the legal process.
We can help throughout the claim process, so give us a call and let’s get started.
For more information, please contact us.