Dealing with the aftermath of damage to your home is traumatic enough but there is a chance that your stress levels might ride even higher when you contact your insurance company to make a claim.
Here are some tips and insights to help you get your home back into shape with the minimum of fuss and expense to you if you can get your insurance company to agree on the claim.
Be prepared for a fight
Sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised at how accommodating your home insurance company can be in dealing with a claim efficiently and fairly, but other times you might come up against a brick wall where the intention seems to be to do all they can to deny your claim.
The general rules of engagement seem to be that insurance companies are often focused on maintaining their profit margins for the shareholders and to do that they need to try and find some ways to not pay at all or at least reduce the amount they pay out on your claim.
Immediately after the damage has occurred you might get someone like GlennStone Roof Repairs out to your home to assess the damage and give you a quote for the repairs. The insurance company will also normally decide to send a claims adjuster to survey the damage to your property on behalf of your insurer.
The title of “claims adjuster” should give you a clue as to what their intentions might be and they will want to run through every aspect of the damage and the claim to see if there are any obvious loopholes to exploit, where you might not be covered for all the damage suffered.
Check your coverage immediately
It is better to be armed with the facts and a bit of knowledge about what you are covered for with your insurance company than to accept what they are saying to you as gospel.
A good tip would be to carefully review your coverage when you take out the policy so that you know exactly what your payment is buying you and what isn’t covered. If you are in a scenario where you are already committed to making a claim with your insurer, get the policy document out again and go through the terms so that you can challenge anything that you don’t believe is right when you negotiate settlement of your claim.
One of the classic problems that insurers are likely to exploit in order to deny or reduce your claim is when they believe that you are underinsured.
The best way to avoid this happening is to review the level of coverage you have each time you renew your insurance, as the worst time to discover that you don’t have enough insurance is after damage has been done to your home.
If you are expecting a storm and damage is likely in your area it would be a good strategy to take some digital pictures of your property before the event.
If your property is subsequently damaged by the storm you can then produce some useful before and after shots for the insurance company as proof of the damage that has occurred.
The relevance and importance of this idea is that insurers can sometimes argue that some of the damage was down to normal wear and tear, which isn’t covered. However, if you have photographic evidence to refute this claim it puts you in a stronger position to argue your corner and get your claim for repairs approved.
Secure your property
You might sometimes have to wait a few days or longer for the insurance adjuster to come out to your property, which means your property could be exposed and vulnerable to the prospect of more damage in the meantime.
Speak to your insurer and tell them if you have to carry out immediate temporary repairs like fixing a leaking roof or boarding up a broken window. Keep all the receipts for the work done and the insurer should agree to reimburse these costs when the claim is settled.
Let battle commence
You can hear horror stories of costly litigation where homeowners have had to fight tooth and nail to get their insurance company to pay out and you can also find homeowners who say that their insurer treated them firmly but fairly and paid out the claim after some negotiation.
Be prepared for whatever scenario you encounter by gathering all your paperwork together, producing receipts and photos of any damage and subsequent repairs, plus any other supporting documentation you think will be needed.
If you are prepared to fight your corner and do battle with your insurer and have the answers to their questions, this should help speed up the claim process and will also let the loss adjuster know that you are not going to be bullied into accepting less than you are entitled to.
The Best Way to Win A Fight Is to Avoid It
Lastly, you should be periodically reviewing which insurance company you want to use, this is especially the case in places like Florida or the gulf coast where you get a good amount of weather related issues. A good place to start is by reading a guide to independent agencies in Florida or in your state and going from there.
About the Author
Glenn Sanders is the President of GlennStone. He was born and raised on a dairy farm in Hartville Missouri, where he learned the value of hard work at a young age. He worked his way up the ladder performing Installation, Sales and Project Management at other roofing and fence companies in town where his strong work ethic, integrity, and commitment to his customers made Glenn one of the top performers in his field. GlennStone implements the wealth of knowledge and experience that Glenn has acquired learning both what to do and just as importantly, what to avoid to give the best value and customer satisfaction to their valued clients.