Things You Must Know Before Speaking To Your Insurance Company

It’s rare when we have to speak with our insurance companies about anything beyond pricing out a policy, but it’s important to know what to do if the day comes when you have to file a claim and have THAT conversation. Here are some general tips on things you can do to prepare before you contact your insurance company.

Insurance Policy Holders

Know Your Benefits – Review your policy and know steps to take to cover you!

Keep Good Records – Don’t leave it up to your insurance company for proof,
retrieve all documents sent to you by your insurer, doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers such as Explanation of Benefits, bills, proof of payment, etc. and have them handy when calling your insurance company and/or other official related documents pertaining to the claim. Keep copies of everything you send to your insurance company.

Take Great Notes – Note, date and time any conversation you have with anyone related to your claim. Make sure to take the first and last name of the person you speak with so if you need to reference them for follow up later you have the information.

Specifically Example –

Let’s take a look at a specific example, like in the event of something like storm damage. There are several things you should do before calling your insurance company after something like this takes place. It is always a good idea to contact a reputable storm restoration contractor for a full property damage inspection. The National Storm Damage Center can connect you to a certified contractor to perform a property damage inspection at no cost to you. Your inspector will provide you with a full report detailing the total storm damage incurred to your property and an estimated cost to fully restore your property to its original condition before the storm hit. When filing an insurance claim, it is in your best interest to hire the best possible contractor based on referral.

What Should Your Inspector Know?

Make sure your contractor has experience in repair storm damage and working through the complex insurance claims process. When selecting a contractor, its a good idea to get several estimates before making your final choice. The contractor should use the highest quality materials that your insurance company will pay for to ensure the repairs will last

You have paid your insurance premiums so it is not in your best interest to accept a reduced settlement or work with an insurance company “approved” contractor with an incentive to save your insurance company money at your expense. It is important to remember that many insurance policies limit the time you have to file your claim so don’t wait until you have water dripping through the ceiling, mold in the attic or your roof caves in to think about it them fixed.

What Your Inspector Should Check?

Depending on the type of storm, you’ll want to make sure your inspector takes a careful look at your roof, windows, paint, siding or exterior, gutters, vents, air conditioning units, concrete, including driveways and pool decks and any downed or damaged electrical wires and other utilities. Check for leaking, flooding and water damage. Make note of any fallen tree branches on your property and damage from flying debris including dents, dings and damage from hail. Exposure to the elements may increase the amount of damage and your personal liability.

Helpful Insurance Claim Tips

  1. Most insurance policies limit your time to file a claim so don’t put it off.
  2. You can’t be penalized with a higher rate due to storm damage.
  3. Insurance restoration contractors represent your best interest.
  4. Always hire the most qualified contractor even if you have to pay a little more.
  5. Beware of insurance company “approved” contractors.
  6. Know your policy coverage and understand your rights.

Hire A Public Adjuster To Negotiate Your Claim

In addition to hiring a contractor, consider hiring a public adjuster who can work with the contractor to negotiate the best settlement for you. A contractor can not function as a Public Adjuster on any claim and vice versa. Many states have severe penalties for individuals acting as a public adjuster while also acting as a contractor. Be cautious of the contractor who offers to negotiate your claim for you in place of a public adjuster. This may actually put the legitimacy of your entire claim in jeopardy. A certified public adjuster is much more qualified to negotiate the right settlement for you.

It’s important to cover all your bases and have the right experts representing you through a major event in your family’s life. This will help you avoid any undue losses that may otherwise come back to haunt you later. Don’t rely on your insurance company who will only be looking out for their own best interest.