Strong storms and tornadoes have ravaged portions of the Southeast during the past week. People have died and others have lost their homes and businesses. When everything you own is destroyed, it may be difficult to think about filing insurance claims, but timeliness is very important.
Many insurance companies limit the time in which you may file your claim. The longer you wait the more damage the interior of your home or business may suffer. Don’t wait until you have water dripping from the ceiling or until you find mold on the walls; don’t wait until your roof begins to collapse, because it may then be too late to file an insurance claim.
To make sure you get the most value for your claim, hire a reputable contractor to represent your interests. Don’t assume that the “approved” contractor from the insurance company will necessarily do the best job. Remember, if they are hired by your insurance company, their incentive is to save the company some dollars at your expense.
Filing a report can be a frustrating process; the insurance company is in business to make money and deny your claim. Here are some tips that may help you through this tough task.
- Properly assess storm damage. Take photos and keep good records.
- Contact several reputable contractors and get at least three written proposals.
- Contact the claims adjuster from your insurance company and provide them with all information that you have gathered about your storm damage.
- Request that the adjuster make an inspection and have your contractor there with you.
- If your claim is denied, don’t worry – you are allowed to meet with three adjusters. Even a small amount of damage should result in an approved claim.
- The insurance company will send you two checks; make sure your contractor orders all materials in your name and uses your check to pay the costs.
- Make sure the job is done to your satisfaction before making a final payment. Also, have the contractor sign a lien waiver before handing over the second check.
If you have questions about filing an insurance claim on your storm damage, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.