How Are Property Damage Claims Handled?
For most people who have suffered a large loss, it takes roughly 18-24 months to fully repair and rebuild their home and replace their possessions. Whether it’s a fire, flood, or other disasters, knowing what to do when you have suffered property damage can feel daunting.
You may be displaced, scrambling to find important documents or other paperwork, or staying with relatives while you anxiously await news of your home. Fortunately, if you can do your homework before a disaster strikes, you can not only avoid the stress involved in the claims process, you can also be reimbursed the maximum amount for your home, belongings, and other expenses that you are entitled to.
When it comes to property damage claims, here are some tips and things you should know about to make the claims process easier.
Remember to read and fully understand your policy’s Declarations page. This page will show you how your policy is divided into four sections: Dwelling is ‘Coverage A’, Other Structures fall under ‘Coverage B’, Personal Property is ‘Coverage C’, and Loss of Use and/or Additional Living Expenses will be covered by ‘Coverage D’. If you have specific questions about your policy and coverage, make sure to speak with your insurance agent.
Here are some tips to help you with filing a property damage claim.
You will want to make sure you thoroughly document the damage your property sustained. Take photos, record video as you walk around your property, and be as complete as possible.
Take costs into account
One problem homeowners run into when filing a claim is undercutting their costs. Make sure you factor in expenses such as labor, materials, values of lost items, expenses from alternate arrangements, lost income, and other expenses.
Protect the area, if possible
If the damage is minor and you can shore it up with temporary repairs, speak with your insurance company prior to starting any work. They will advise you whether or not to proceed with any repairs at this point.
When you are documenting items, take note of brands and models, as well as their age and purchase prices. This will help when you speak with your insurance company. Additionally, when you speak with your insurance company, you will want to let them know if your home is too badly damaged to be lived in. If you have a vehicle, they will want to know if it is still safe to drive. Also, make sure to pay attention to claim filing deadlines, necessary paperwork, and other requirements.
Try to be Present for Inspections
Being present for inspections allows you to answer any questions the inspector may have. It also prevents them from jumping to conclusions about what they might find. If you can’t be there, request a copy of the inspection report.
Know Your Rights
Don’t allow yourself to be forced into a settlement! With how lengthy the claim process can be, it’s tempting to accept the first offer your insurance company gives you. Be patient, and work with your insurance company to get the settlement you deserve.
If you are looking for professional attorney services to help with your case, contact the experts at Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys today! From family law matters to property claims, we guarantee we’ll find a solution for you!