Have you just experienced a water loss at your home or property, and don’t know where to begin? Does navigating an insurance claim intimidate you? You are not alone!! As a company that specializes in emergency services and turnkey restoration, we have worked on a few thousand insurance claims in our time – and what we usually see is that most people on the receiving end of the property damage do NOT know where to begin and what the process entails.
Makes sense, right? Since an insurance claim is not something most people deal with on a daily, or even weekly basis, it’s probably going to be confusing…. intimidating… challenging. In an effort to better prepare you for dealing with property loss (and what comes after…. Usually, an insurance claim), we are highlighting here the 5 things that you should know about insurance claims:
1. Insurance Claims are complicated.
Just like no two property losses are exactly alike…. No two insurance claims are exactly alike! Each insurance carrier has their own way of processing a claim, and even further, each insurance adjuster may have their own variated way of doing things. This means that a claim can be more or less complicated than the last one – with the steps involved varying from each loss.
Pro Tip: Stay in regular communication with your insurance adjuster, and stay clear on what is expected to happen and when.
2. The insurance industry has its own lingo.
There are terms in the insurance world that you may have never heard before, or that may require a “key” for understanding. Terms and concepts like “Recoverable Cash Value”, “Xactimate”, or “Code Upgrades” may all be new lingo to a person who does not deal with insurance claims very often.
Pro Tip: Use your insurance agent as your claim guide – ask them for help and clarity when you don’t understand industry language, or a part of the process.
3. Documentation is key.
The more documentation you have on what happened, how and why – can be crucial to a faster decision and processing of an insurance claim. Photos, notes of what happened, and the documentation provided by your contractors are all useful pieces of information an insurance adjuster may want to consider when working through a claim.
Pro Tip: Start a file, right away, a physical file for anything handed to you (like invoices from a plumber, claim paperwork sent via mail) AND an electronic file where you can store photos, emails and other virtual documentation.
4. Time is of the essence when addressing property damage and filing a claim.
The concept of “sudden and accidental” damage is a common phrase in the insurance world. If a property damage happened months ago and was ignored, there is a chance that it got worse over time and the insurance policy may not cover it. It’s crucial to address property damage quickly, and to file your claim quickly as well.
Pro Tip: Always act quickly to address water damage, period!
5. Claim or not – if you have property damage happening, you should repair the source, as quickly as possible.
Repairing the source should happen right away – this is often key to preventing additional damages from happening. For example, if a wind storm damages shingles on your roof and you have water leaking in – you need at least a temporary roof tarp ASAP to cover the opened up area and prevent more water from coming in, until a more permanent repair can be made. If a pipe has burst, you’ll need to turn the water off and get a plumber out to repair the pipe before water can be restored to that part of the house/unit.
Pro Tip: Act on permanent repairs as quickly as possible. Temporary repairs to roofs, plumbing, etc. are not meant to function properly long term.
We know that dealing with an insurance claim can be an unusual and challenging experience. If you are dealing with either property loss or an insurance claim, and that’s what brought you to our blog post – drop us a line and let us know if we can help! If you have more questions about insurance claims and how the restoration process works – drop us a line, we’d love to chat!