Whether they are actually more frequent than in the past or not, we are certainly more aware these days--thanks to television and social media--of the violent storms that hit many parts of America in the form of hurricanes, tornadoes, torrential rain and blizzards. When storms strike and cause damage to your home, what happens next?
Often, your first port of call is your local insurance agent or broker. They’re the people you know, the people who can help. They will take all of the details regarding your property and the damage, which must include a complete description of damaged personal property (for example, the make, model and size of a television). Photos of all damage should also be taken. Your insurance agent will also ask you for essential information such as your name and an alternate contact name, home phone number, all cell phone numbers, alternate contact numbers, contact email addresses, etc. The more details you can provide, the easier it will be for your insurers to quickly and effectively communicate with you.
All of this information will then be quickly passed on to the relevant insurance company or carrier, usually via electronic submission of the claim, which is the swiftest method and allows a claim number to be immediately generated and passed on to you, the insured. This method also allows the carrier to quickly assign an adjuster to the case, including on weekends and holidays if the situation is catastrophic. The adjuster will then inspect the damage, interpret and apply the criteria of your insurance policy (i.e., determine what is covered by your policy), negotiate a settlement (that is, decide how much your insurance company will pay for the damage you have suffered), and will either authorize payment or take the information back to the insurance company for authorization.
Here are some tips for making sure that your claim is paid for everything covered under your insurance policy:
- If your area is expecting a big storm, immediately take digital photos or video of your roof, exterior walls, interior walls, and ceilings. This will provide a before-and-after comparison if necessary.
- If the damage is extensive, hire an independent adjuster to assess all damage, just in case you don’t agree with the assessment from your insurance company’s adjuster.
- After immediately taking photos of the damage, make temporary repairs right away to broken windows or leaking roofs, in order that no further damage is caused.
Above all, make sure you know what’s covered under your insurance policy. Ask your Alliance Insurance agent if you have any questions about your policy or if you want to increase your coverage levels. We will be happy to help you in any way we can.