After experiencing a loss that is covered by your homeowners policy, a request is sent to the insurance company for compensation to restore the damage. This request, known as an insurance claim, can be anything from a fire damage insurance claim in South Dakota to a storm damage insurance claim in Wisconsin. Once the claim is filed, the insurance company will begin the process of determining the scope of the damage and how much money is required to pay for the repairs.
Here are a few tips to help the process go as smoothly as possible.
The timeline from the start of the claims process to the settlement phase can vary based on the type and size of the claim. Reporting the damage right away is an important step to take to help get the process moving as quickly as possible. If you’re filing a claim due to hail damage or storm damage, odds are good that your neighbors may be experiencing similar damages. That’s why submitting your claim in a timely manner is advisable to ensure you end up toward the front of the line. Typically, homeowners are required to file a claim within one year of the loss, though that can vary based on the state you live in and your insurance company.
Before cleaning up anything, make sure you document the damage through pictures and videos to convey the full extent of your loss. You can never take too many photos, so go ahead and snap from multiple angles and be thorough. The more information and evidence you can provide to the insurer, the better.
Typically, homeowners are advised not to make any repairs after a loss in order for the adjuster to accurately assess the situation. But that doesn’t mean you have to live with a gaping hole in your window after a hailstorm busts out the glass. Keeping your family and belongings safe is of the utmost importance, so if you need to put up some plywood, do it. Just be sure to keep the receipts and to document the necessity of the repairs so you can submit the expenses to your insurance company as part of the claim.
Your insurance company will send out an adjuster to evaluate the loss. This is a crucial part of the process, because it’s the adjuster’s job to determine how much the insurance company is going to compensate you for the damages. If you choose to rely on the insurance company’s adjuster, it’s advisable to be present during their inspection of your property. But it’s important to be aware that the insurance company’s adjuster will first and foremost have the company’s best interests at heart rather than your own. Hiring a public insurance adjuster puts somebody in your corner to advocate on your behalf.
Once the insurance adjuster sends in their final report, the insurance company will provide you with a settlement offer. Make sure you closely review the offer before accepting, because once you do, your claim will be closed. If you feel the amount should be higher, you can dispute it and request another review. Once you’ve agreed upon a settlement amount, you can finally move forward with the repair process.
The insurance claims process can be stressful. From filing the paperwork to documenting the damage to negotiating with the insurance company, there’s a lot to think about. Having a public insurance adjuster on your side from the very beginning can ease the burden and may ultimately result in a higher settlement amount.
K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan.