Storm damage? Tips for working with your insurance provider

Dealing with insurance companies after storm damage to your home can be a complex process. Here are key points a homeowner should know:

Before the Storm

  • Understand Your Policy: Familiarize yourself with the specifics of your homeowner’s insurance policy, including what types of storm damage are covered (e.g., wind, hail, flooding), deductibles, and coverage limits.
  • Document Your Property: Keep a detailed inventory of your home and its contents, including photos and receipts, to provide evidence of pre-storm conditions.

After the Storm

  • Safety First: Ensure your safety and that of your family. Avoid any hazards such as downed power lines or structurally unsafe areas.Tree damage
  • Document the Damage: Take comprehensive photos and videos of the damage to your property immediately after the storm. This documentation will be crucial when filing your claim.
  • Prevent Further Damage: Make temporary repairs to prevent additional damage (e.g., tarping a damaged roof), but keep receipts and document these repairs as well. Do not make permanent repairs until the insurance adjuster has inspected the property.

Filing a Claim

  • Contact Your Insurance Company Promptly: Notify your insurance company as soon as possible to start the claims process. Provide them with all necessary information and documentation.
  • Keep Detailed Records: Document all communications with your insurance company, including dates, times, names of representatives, and summaries of discussions.
  • Be Honest and Accurate: Provide accurate information when filing your claim. Exaggerating or omitting details can complicate the process and potentially result in claim denial.

Working with the Insurance Adjuster

  • Meet with the Adjuster: Schedule a time for the insurance adjuster to inspect the damage. Make sure you or a trusted representative is present during the inspection to point out all damage and discuss the scope of necessary repairs.
  • Provide Documentation: Give the adjuster copies of your photos, videos, and any repair receipts.
  • Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask the adjuster questions about the assessment and the next steps in the claims process.

Negotiating and Settling the Claim

  • Review the Adjuster’s Report: Carefully review the adjuster’s report and the insurance company’s settlement offer. Ensure it covers all necessary repairs and replacements.
  • Get Estimates: Obtain repair estimates from licensed contractors to compare with the insurance company’s offer.

At OnPoint Construction, we work for you. It is very important to us that needed repairs are not done cheaply to satisfy bare minimum requirements, but are done correctly. We have experience developing detailed estimates to satisfy the needs of insurance adjusters. When needed we help educate your provider on the approach to repairs so they have the needed appreciation for the level of effort. Should we discover unforeseen additional issues, we communicate openly with you and your adjuster to ensure everyone is on the same page at all times. When something was previously against code, we will always fix it to today’s standards. Experiencing a 

  • Negotiate if Necessary: If the settlement offer is insufficient, negotiate with your insurance company, providing evidence and estimates to support your claim.
  • Consider Professional Help: If negotiations stall, consider hiring a public adjuster or an attorney who specializes in insurance claims. They can advocate on your behalf and help ensure a fair settlement.

Repairs and Settlement

  • Choose Reputable Contractors: Hire licensed and insured contractors for the repairs. Avoid contractors who demand large upfront payments or lack proper credentials.
  • Monitor Repairs: Oversee the repair process to ensure work is completed correctly.
  • Final Settlement: Once repairs are completed, confirm that all work meets your expectations before signing any final settlement documents with your insurance company.

Additional Tips

  • Understand Exclusions: Be aware of what your policy does not cover. For example, flood damage often requires a separate policy.
  • Be Patient but Persistent: The claims process can be lengthy. Stay in regular contact with your insurance company and follow up on the status of your claim.
  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on any changes in state laws or regulations regarding insurance claims and homeowner rights.

By understanding your policy, documenting everything, and effectively communicating with your insurance company, you can navigate the claims process more smoothly and ensure your home is properly restored after storm damage.

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