What to do after an insurance loss?
Here is a list of what to do after an insured loss:
• Don’t be in a hurry to settle your claim. You need to take your time in order to obtain a proper settlement.
• The only licensed adjuster that can legally represent the Insured is a public adjuster. Claim representatives/Independent adjusters represent the insurance company.
• Do not hire the insurance companies preferred contractor. Remember that the insurance company’s preferred contractor wants to keep the insurance company happy.
• Only allow a general contractor to do temporary repair or emergency service mitigation type work. Do not hire a general contractor until you get an agreed scope and final estimate.
• Take as many pictures as you can of the damaged area. Make sure to take an overview picture of the room and any close-up photos if possible.
• Request in writing, an up-to-date certified copy of policy from your insurance adjuster.
• You must document everything in writing. The insurance company will be keeping a written log of everything that happens with your claim. It’s in your best interest to do the same.
• Put any request for information or answers in writing to your public adjuster and/or the insurance company adjuster if you are going to attempt to settle your own loss. What is in writing carries infinitely more weight and can be verified if needed unlike that which is merely spoken.
• Get broken windows and doors boarded up to prevent theft and additional damage.
• Have any roof damage “tarped” or temporarily covered. This cost will be reimbursed or paid by the insurance company. It is your responsibility to protect your property from further damage, not the insurance company’s.
• It is common to be asked to submit to a recorded statement. Take recorded statements seriously and be absolutely honest in every answer. Make sure you have them agree, while the tape is running, to give you a copy of the tape as well as the transcript if it is transcribed. Our recommendation is to also record the statement with your own recorder at the same time.
• Don’t allow the insurance company to put you into temporary housing that is half the size of your damaged home and or business relocation. You are entitled to maintain the same standard of living you had prior to the loss. For the sake of your business and to keep the business continuity and morale among your employees and vendors, not to mention if you’re dealing with a residential loss, your marriage and your kids, always insist on what you are entitled to which is similar accommodations and furnishings. This insurance adjusting claims process is going to take longer than you are imagining right now. You will regret it if you disregard this little piece of advice, we promise you.
• While you wait for the certified policy, ask your insurance agent to print out a current declarations page for you. This document will show you the policy limits for your structure, contents and additional living expenses.
• Do not allow anyone to demolish or tear out any of the damaged structure. Until the structural portion of the claim is completely and finally settled the structure should remain as is. Destroying “evidence” will only hurt your chances of getting completely indemnified.
• Along the same lines as immediately above, do not discard, throw away any business equipment, clothes or household items before the inventory is complete, every item photographed and the insurance carrier has approved it in writing.