Documenting storm damage for homeowners insurance claims | Local News

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As an Independent Insurance Adjuster, I am not an employee of the insurance company. I work with an independent adjusting firm that contracts with the insurance company to investigate and adjust any claims submitted by homeowners.

While this article was written as a contribution to a timely publication regarding hurricane preparedness, the tips presented apply to any type of insurance claim.

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Before a storm hits make a detailed inventory and take pictures of the contents and rooms in your home, the exterior and any outbuildings/structures. Receipts are good, too. Afterward, if there is damage photograph it from different angles, close-ups and wide views.

If you have to throw out spoiled food, photograph it. Was there standing water in your home? Take photos of it because levels and effects will likely change over time. Any photos you have that show what your property looked like beforehand versus afterward can help your adjuster assess damages you might not be aware of.

Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible if your home or property is damaged in any way during the storm.

At the end of the day, a claim can’t be paid out until the adjuster has completed their job. Documentation, inspections, policy evaluation, etc., all need to be done first. The quicker you can respond to your claims adjuster, answer questions, or submit the required documentation, the faster you’ll get paid.

Do what you can to prevent any further damage such as tarping the roof, boarding up broken windows/doors, etc.

Not only does your policy require it, doing so will help to prevent further damage. Again, take pictures from many angles if possible. The more documentation you have will help the adjuster to make a complete and thorough assessment of the damages.

While your first inclination may be to start cleaning up, try to refrain.

If possible, don’t start working on the property or throw anything away until the adjuster can analyze and assess the damage. If you need to take action to access your property, like removing a fallen tree, make sure to document it with plenty of photos from multiple angles. Take additional photos of any nearby damaged areas that may be affected or changed due to the removal, like roofs, driveways, fences, etc.

Finally, be very wary of signing an Assignment of Benefits (AOB). This takes any control of the process away from the homeowner and gives it to the contractor involved.

For more information visit www.myfloridacfo.com. You can download a very useful “HomeownersToolkit” booklet to help you navigate the sometimes murky waters of insurance claims.



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