How to Get the most out of your insurance claim After a storm
Whether you have an asphalt roof, metal roof, slate roof, tile roof, wood roof or synthetic roof, they are all prone to damage at some point during their life. Homeowners have a lot to deal with following a severe weather event, and generally speaking, the settlement process is much easier when you understand how the claim process works. If you have already filed your claim and the adjuster has visited, what are the next steps? Below are some tips to help ease the insurance claims process and help you work more efficient and effectively with your insurance company.
TIP 1 - UNDERSTAND YOUR POLICY
Know your deductibles, limits, and coverage. For example, if your home was damaged by water during a severe rain storm your policy may exclude flood damage coverage. Understanding your policy's limits and deductibles will help you determine how much of your repair costs will be out-of-pocket.
TIP 2 - KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR ADJUSTER
If your home was damaged in a major local storm, some insurance companies deploy adjusters and claim processors to the disaster area as soon as the state and local authorities allow them access. If the storm was not major but you know your roof suffered damage, you will want to get in touch with your insurance adjuster as soon as possible. Insurers want to settle claims quickly in order to avoid additional damage to the property so it is important to communicate with them accordingly.
After your adjuster's initial visit they may have additional questions for you. Best practice is to respond to their questions quickly as it will help move your claim along more efficiently. Be sure to communicate with your adjuster and establish what the next step in the claims process is. If you do not hear back from your adjuster in a timely manner feel free to call them directly or contact your insurance provider.
TIP 3 - REVIEW THE ADJUSTER'S REPORT
After the insurance adjuster inspects your loss they will prepare a written assessment of what needs to be repaired, what needs to be replaced, and their estimated costs. Many adjusters use a replacement cost computer program to prepare these reports and the cost for materials and labor will be based on national or regional averages. The adjuster gives their report to the claims supervisor who will then issue a check based on the coverage in your policy and the information that was provided in the adjuster's report. Best practice is to review the adjuster's report carefully and contact them quickly and directly if you have any discrepancies.
TIP 4 - REVIEW THE ADJUSTER'S Offer
Once your damage is assessed and your claim is approved, there may be another discussion with your insurance company about the settlement offer. If you are dissatisfied with the amount offered, contact the adjuster. When you receive the first check from your insurance company do not deposit it or send it to your mortgage company until you have reviewed the adjusters report and have decided whether you agree with the costs.
TIP 5 - HOW TO NEGOTIATE WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
If you do not agree with your insurance company's settlement offer after the adjuster's report, provide documentation stating why you believe you are entitled to more money and file an appeal with your insurer for a larger settlement.
If you are dissatisfied with the claims process put your complaint in writing; be concise, polite, and professional when writing your complaint. In your written complaint include 1) the specific issue or problem, 2) specific request for resolution, and 3) a recommended response time frame. Make sure to ask your insurer if they require any additional information from you and when they will need that information.