01 Sep Six Tips for a Successful Fire or Water Claim
As you likely already know, the proper handling of your insurance claim process is paramount to your financial recovery. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the insurance policy, understand your rights and responsibilities, and appraise and document all your losses to file your claim and prove your loss to the insurance company.
Obviously, this process can be overwhelming for just about anybody, especially someone who has just suffered a property loss. A lot of making a successful fire or water claim comes down to the details. One misstep could cost you and your family thousands.
That said, here are six tips to consider when making a claim:
- Step one, tell your insurance company immediately of the loss and file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance company. Your insurance policy requires you to report the loss “as soon as reasonably possible.” Then, be sure to stay in communication with them as you go through the claims process.
- Start documenting everything. Take photos of all the smoke, water, or fire damage in your home. File proof of loss forms. Keep all your receipts from HVAC technicians and restoration crews. Whether it’s living expenses, contractor quotes, and even original damage/ loss reports, document everything, take lots of photos, and keep all your receipts. There is no such thing as too much documentation.
- Assess the damage and count your loss. Make a detailed list of lost property items and their value, which is known as your schedule of loss. This is a list of all the personal belongings lost or damaged in the fire or flood. This can be an extensive list to prepare, and you need all the help you can get. Get the whole family involved to get an accurate picture of what each person had. Remember, the insurance adjuster will use your schedule of loss when they recommend what the insurance company should pay out. So, you want to be sure the list is complete and accurate.
- Get multiple opinions/ estimates on structural costs. The first offer from the insurance company to repair the damage to your home may appear to be low, and it very well may be. Get another quote (or two) from contractors and builders so you can get a clearer picture of the cost to repair the damage and rebuild your home.
- Track your expenses. If you have it in your policy, additional living expenses coverage should help you pay for the costs of living elsewhere while your home is being repaired. This includes shelter, food, transportation, and even storage, but only if it’s above and beyond your usual spending. Hold on to all receipts from this time because you’ll need to submit them to the insurer at the end of the process.
Because it’s a complicated process and can be stressful to deal with the insurance company that doesn’t necessarily want to give you a large payout, it’s a good idea to hire a public adjuster, which brings us to the last tip.
- Hire a public adjuster. Providing loss consulting for personal and commercial insurance claims, experienced public claims adjusters help you fully recover from losses by negotiating for the best insurance claim settlement you’re entitled to. Public adjusters are state-licensed professionals that work on behalf of the policyholders, to represent their interests in the claim process following a property loss.
Did you know that in many cases, using a public adjuster can mean receiving a settlement two to three times higher than the initial offer?
At Ohio Fire Claims, our public adjusters will assist you in any way possible to help you steer clear of all the pitfalls insurance companies are counting on, because we work for you.
Contact us today and we can help you through the claims process.