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Insurance Advice When You Suffer Property Damage

Posted by Joe Brennan | Posted in Appraisal Umpire, Fire Insurance Claims, Homeowners Insurance, Independent Appraiser, Insurance Advice, Insurance Claims Help, Insurance Dispute | Posted on 07-15-2010


Insurance Advice

Insurance Advice When You Suffer Property Damage!

Some insurance advice should just not be ignored. When anyone suffers property damage, they should first notify their  insurance company or their agent. Policyholders can call to initiate a claim or many companies now allow claims to be submitted through their websites. However, it’s always a good idea to submit your property claims via postal mail.

Insurance Advice 101

You should also consider notifying your insurance company promptly after an incident on your property has occurred, that may result in a filed claim sometime in the future. A good example would be if a neighborhood kid broke their arm playing in your yard. Your neighbor may not ask you to cover the injury under your homeowners insurance, however, if they did, your insurance company would be aware of the incident. So, even though no claim was made at the time the incident, providing a heads-up to your carrier will make them aware if your neighbor wishes to place a claim weeks down the road.

It is also your responsibility to mitigate and protect the property from any further damage. For instance, if a windstorm damaged windows, have them boarded up and secured to protect against burglary or injury. Costs for such protection is covered by your policy, and would be reimbursed to you by the insurance company.

However, refrain from making permanent repairs until your claim has been settled. No repairs should take place until your adjuster has visited your property for a detailed inspection. Your carrier company has the right to inspect your home in its damaged state, and can deny payment for any damages that have been repaired prior to inspection.

Your insurance company will send an adjuster to inspect and examine all the damages you have suffered and provide an estimate of the cost to return your property to a pre-loss condition. You should always obtain an estimate from a local contractor to compare with the insurance adjuster’s estimate. Your contractor may charge a fee for the estimate but will often offer a credit for such amount if you hire them to complete the repairs.

If you require assistance, you may look to your agent, broker or insurance sales representative for help filling out the required claim forms. Ask questions when you do not understand, request help on gathering the materials you need to substantiate your loss, and never feel like you’re being a burden on them… It’s There Job To Assist You – You’ve Already Prepaid For It!

In the event you suffer a devastating loss with major property damage, such as a large fire or severe hurricane that has severely damaged or destroyed the property, and you’re not in any state to deal with the settlement of your claim, you may want to consider the appraisal clause in your policy. Larger losses usually result in disputes. Some of the most usefule insurance advice is this clause that allows an independent appraiser to act on your behalf and reach an appropriate settlement. Independent appraisers can assist you with completing a full inventory of your loss, providing a complete detailed estimate of damages to your property, help you secure an appropriate settlement based upon your policy, provide the insurance advice you need and relieve you of the stress involved with a claims dispute.

Must Know Insurance Advice

Many should consider the appraisal process when a disagreement arises. Almost all homeowner, business, coop apartment and condominium policies contain the appraisal clause. It’s a provision where the policyholder and the insurance company each hire an independent, competent, and disinterested appraiser. The two appraisers will then jointly select an umpire.

After the umpire is chosen each appraiser must then determine and evaluate the damage and provide a value of each item separately. Every stud, brick, sink, couch, and shirt requires it’s own value. Any items the appraisers disagree upon are then submitted to the umpire and settled individually.

If you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation, consider the appraisal clause and obtain insurance advice from an independent appraiser. Educating yourself is the only way to be sure you receive a fair and equatable insurance claim settlement. Get the insurance advice you need and deserve.

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(C) Joe Brennan is President and owner/operator of Insurance Claims Group, Inc., a national independent adjusting, appraisal, and umpiring firm. We will answer your claim questions FREE as part of our FREE Insurance Advice and Insurance Claim Consulting Services.

Insurance Claims Group, Inc.
Joe Brennan
Ph: 919-669-9111
Fx: 919-573-9595

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