Fire, fallen trees, flooding. It can be a nightmare when disaster strikes.
The thought of dealing with insurance in the midst of it all can seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be an anxiety-inducing experience. If you go in prepared, your insurance claim can go smoother than you thought possible. Follow these four tips on how to work with your insurance company when disaster hits.
Don’t Wait, Call Them As Soon As Possible
Once you’re safe and in a secure location, call your insurance. It’s important to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible. Most insurance companies only give you a limited timeframe to file a claim. This can range anywhere from a few days for water damage to a month for other scenarios depending on your insurance company and the type of damages sustained.
For example, you have to file for water damage right away or you likely won’t be covered due to the fact that mold will grow within 24-48 hours, which most likely won’t be covered by your insurance policy.
The damage must be sudden and accidental to receive your insurance coverage.
It’s always best to file right away so you don’t encounter any issues.
Your insurance company can help you assess if the damage you’re experiencing is covered under the terms of your policy. If you’d like to check ahead of time, you can look into the covered perils most home insurance covers. Some covered perils include but are not limited to windstorms, water damage, and lightning strikes.
Calling right away can help you out with immediate needs as well.
You can call or email your insurance company to get ahold of them quickly. But it’s also advisable to file your claim online so they have several records to refer back to. This can protect you if any questions on the timeline of your reported claim arise.
Refer to the “Duties After a Loss Section” of Your Policy
You are responsible for covering all your bases when it comes time to make a claim. Unfortunately, your insurance company will only go so far to help your situation. The lion’s share of the work falls on you.
The Duties After a Loss section of your policy outlines your immediate responsibilities after a disaster. Neglecting to cover your bases can result in delayed coverage or even a rejected claim. Some of these duties include the following:
- Take all reasonable steps that you can to prevent further damage.
- Promptly notify your agent about the disaster.
- Be sure to call the police if the loss occurred due to illegal activity.
- Cooperate with your insurance company throughout the entire process.
- Prepare to give them every detail of the event from where it took place to how it happened (to the best of your ability).
- Thoroughly complete your Proof of Loss form for your Loss of Use Claim.
Inspect the Entire Scene
As soon as your home is safe to enter, do a complete sweep of the scene. Leave no stone unturned. Be sure all of your appliances are working properly. Check for cracks or erosion in your foundation. Check each room for damage even if the incident seemed isolated.
As you move through the scene, make a list of all the damages you find. Spare no detail; the more information you have, the better your insurance company can help you. Take pictures too. If you happen to have any pre-damage pictures, this will help your case greatly.
Line Up An Expert Restoration Team
Be sure to vet out your restoration service company well before agreeing to go through them. Sometimes your insurance company will waive your deductible if you go with a company they are partnered with.
This can work in your favor but be sure you trust the company they select. Many restoration companies that insurance hires actually cut corners and won’t complete the job. By neglecting the care of your home and not properly fixing the damages, this leads to more damages and you personally having to call out an entirely new restoration company to fix the other company’s mistakes.
If you do go this route, don’t sign anything to approve payment until your service is complete and up to your standards.
If you’re in the Central Denver area, give us a call when disaster strikes! We offer 24/7 services and work with all insurance companies to help you through the entire restoration process. We understand that a disaster couldn’t come at a worse time, so let our family help yours.