When people buy property insurance, they mostly forget what’s in their contract until the time comes that they’ll need to file a claim. Disasters can happen, like fire, earthquakes, and hurricanes. If a person’s house become partially or totally damaged, he or she will need to contact the insurer, who will then send a public adjuster to appraise the damage and negotiate with the policy holder. Normally, the whole process will take several months to complete, and tons of paperwork will be required from the claimant.
When filing a claim, you need to keep in mind the following:
- Hire your own adjuster. You will have a lot on your plate when disaster strikes so you need to have someone on your side who will look after your interest. With your own adjuster, it’s more likely that you will get a fair compensation for the damage to your property.
- Claim for the same quality of furniture. If your provider says they can replace your items with similar ones, see to it that the quality and the price are the same. So if you own a $700 designer couch, make sure they replace it with furniture that has the same price (or higher) and quality.
- File for a total loss of property, if you qualify. Constructing a new house will be less expensive than repairing a completely damaged home. With this option, you can even update old furniture without spending a dime.
- Your insurance provider will write a check to you and your bank if you have a mortgage. This is because the holder of your mortgage is probably listed as a ‘loss payee’ in your contract. The bank will still release the payment to you, but most likely only after the repairs have been completed.
- Before you cash a check that is marked ‘full and final settlement’ from your insurer, make sure that all damages are accounted for.
- Signing a home insurance claim release is a bad idea. They might pressure you to do so but you should not be swayed. By signing the claim release, you free them of any more responsibilit. So if you want to file a dispute in the future, you can no longer do so.
- If you need to leave your home for the repairs, insist that your insurance provider cover the cost of your hotel stay. In many cases they can even pay for food and transportation.
- Be organized . Because of the stressful circumstances, some people will normally take for granted the little things, such as keeping receipts and submitting them to the insurance company. But you need to stay on top of things to avoid running into problems with your insurance provider. Keep receipts, make follow ups and work with your insurance adjuster to make sure you get what you rightfully deserve in your claim.
Losing your home to a disaster is a tragic thing. But you can make things easier for you and your loved ones by having a public adjuster by your side who can see to it that you get what is due to you.