If your property was suddenly damaged without warning, would you know how to handle it? Would you be prepped with all of the insurance jargon to communicate with the insurance company in order to get the amount that’s owed to you? The reality is that most people go their entire lives without making a significant insurance claim, so this is not common knowledge.
The process typically follows eight steps:
- Notify your insurance company
- Meet with the insurance company’s adjuster
- Protect your property and possessions
- Secure temporary accommodations (if necessary)
- Submit an inventory of damaged or destroyed items
- Repair or replace everything to pre-loss condition
- Move back into your home
The number one action you should take is to protect your property from further damage. If there is a fire, safety is everything. Take the time to sort out your safety and that of your loved ones or colleagues. The same goes for any type of damage. Once the situation has been contained, it’s time to get to work. It starts by notifying the insurance company. Depending on the company, you may even call up a 24/7 hotline to speak to a representative who can walk you through initial questions.
When you meet with your insurance company’s adjuster, he or she will analyze the damage, assess the policy and ultimately determine what is and isn’t covered.
After approving a contractor’s estimate, the time to repair has come. This can take several months if the damage is severe.
The adjuster may suggest hiring a 24/7 emergency contractor or restoration company ASAP to adhere to the damage. If your home is unlivable, they might secure temporary accommodations in a hotel. This can be your base of operations for the remainder of the process.
Now it’s time to take a thorough inventory of the damaged items. You can have photos and videos to back up this list. Keep receipts and track every item on a detailed spreadsheet that will be your source. The insurance company offers compensation for these lost items in either cash or replacement value. Tracking every item will ensure the fairest compensation from the insurance company.
Once this has all been sorted and repairs are done, you can safely move back into your livable home and kickstart your life, right where you left off.