The tips below are going to help you learn more about the best way you can file a claim in order to receive an adequate payout.
1. Keep an Inventory of Each Household Item You Own
One of the best things you could do for yourself, if you want to receive a proper payout, is to make a list that includes every item you own. If it’s easier for you, then you can take a video or photos of the items and then store them online or on a hard drive that you keep in a safe place away from home. By doing so, it’s going to be a lot easier to access these files when you need them.
You don’t actually need to photograph or to count out every single piece of dinnerware or CD you have, photographing them as a whole is enough. Don’t forget that you should also consider saving the receipts for your valuables.
According to Coastal Insurance Solutions CEO, David W. Clausen, a lot of folks can barely remember where they left their car keys, let alone what they stored in their attic in the last twenty years. However, when you have an inventory, it can certainly make life a lot easier.
2. Learn More about the Scope of Your Coverage
If you want to go through the claims process, then it’s very important that you learn more about what your insurance policy covers and what it does not. Relying only on what the adjusters tell you is certainly not a good idea and in most cases, you’re going to get a lower payout than you deserve.
A standard homeowner’s insurance policy won’t cover flood-related damage from hurricanes. Because of that, it’s recommended that you get a separate flood insurance policy in order to be covered in the event of an unexpected flood event.
On top of that Florida, New Jersey, NY, and fifteen other states allow insurers to also include deductibles in their policy in the event of a hurricane. In terms of numbers, these deductibles range from one to five percent of the property’s replacement value. At the end of the day though, each state is going to determine whether those deductibles are triggered by a storm and that’s why it’s a good idea to get in touch with your state’s department of insurance at www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm to double check this.
3. Document Damages As Soon As Possible and Only Perform Temporary Repairs
When the storm is over, make sure to take photos of the damages as soon as possible. This makes it easier to compare the before and after photographs in order to establish the value of the items that were destroyed or damaged.
If your windows are broken or you have holes in your roof, cover them right away to prevent further damage, but refrain from making permanent repairs. Before making any repairs, take a video or photograph the damages.
Don’t discard damaged items, including furniture, before they’re seen by an adjuster.
4. Get In Touch With Your Insurance Company Right Away
No matter how much damage your home sustained, you should call your insurance company right away and ask them about what you need to do in order to file a claim.
If you’ve left your home or were evacuated from it, don’t hesitate to call your insurance company and let them know. The sooner you file a claim the faster you will get a response. By doing so, you establish the fact that you need to find a new place to stay (such as a hotel) for which you can be reimbursed later. To clear up any confusion that may arise along the way, write down the number and name of every person you speak to during the claims process.
5. Get Ready To Negotiate
The payout is going to be calculated after the adjusters inspect the damage. If you’re not happy with it you can work out a higher settlement by speaking to the adjuster and requesting him to explain how he calculated the payout you’re entitled to.
Upon doing so, if you’re still not satisfied with the payout, you should get a few more opinions regarding the repair costs for your home by getting in touch with multiple contractors. You can then use their quotes in order to negotiate a better settlement.
If you cannot work it out with the adjuster you should take your case to the company’s national or regional office.
There are other options for you to get the settlement you deserve and that involves hiring a public insurance adjuster. Since these guys are professionals, you can have the peace of mind that they’re going to assess your home’s damage and then help you get reimbursed for it in full. However, keep in mind that they will charge you about ten percent of the settlement amount and in some cases will require a payment up front. Make sure you have an attorney review any contract that a public adjuster asks you to sign.
If you want to hire a credited adjuster, then you should get in touch with the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters by visiting them at napia.com.
6. Be Mindful Of Scammers
It’s no surprise that just about any owner wants to start repairing his home as soon as possible and because of that, they become easy targets for a lot of unscrupulous contractors that are looking to make a quick buck.
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Tips on How to File a Home Insurance Claim