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Got Storm Damage? 5 Tips on Handling Insurance Claims

10.5.15 Hurricane-between-Florida-and-Cuba-000043705814_Large-1024x768

Natural disasters can hit any home at any time and often there is not much that can be done to avoid the damage they can cause. This is the beginning of hurricane season for the Delaware area and it looks like Hurricane Joaquin is heading right towards us! We thought a discussion on how to handle storm damage insurance claims following a natural disaster might be of interest.

Dealing with the aftermath of a violent storm can be an intimidating and emotional situation, after all our homes store our most prized possessions. Knowing how to handle the insurance claims process ahead of time can mean less frustration and better results.

Every homeowner should keep an up-to-date inventory of their possession and back it up to the ‘cloud’ as an extra precaution.

When disaster strikes, getting your insurance company on board as soon as possible, as well as home improvement contractors you can trust, can make a big difference in getting you back to life, as usual.

Here are 5 great tips from your helpful home improvement contractors in Delaware.

1. Take pictures of damage whenever possible. Interior & exterior pictures of the damage caused to your home right after a storm is very helpful to explain to your insurance company any temporary repairs you might have to make until a contractor can fully repair your home.  If you can timestamp these pictures with your camera, do so…it always helps you to remember and to better document the events for the insurance claim as well.  Take AFTER pictures as well!  It is not only good practice for your own records, but it is also great to show your insurance company if their response time is lagging and they have asked you to seek repairs first then request reimbursement (VERY rare, but it is possible).
2. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible and inform them of the extent of the damage.  Be sure to monitor for any residual damage as well (i.e., you find a water leak after a tree falls on your home, and it turns out the tree had cracked the pipe, but you didn’t find out until you turned on the water, etc.) and keep them informed.
3. You do NOT have to accept the first claim check that is sent to you by your insurance company.  They hope that you do accept the check without question, but you should ALWAYS get multiple estimates and tell them that you appreciate the initial offer, but you will not deposit the check until you are sure of the total cost of the repairs that your contractor of choice requires.  DO NOT DEPOSIT ANY CHECKS UNTIL YOU HAVE REACHED A REASONABLE AMOUNT AGREEMENT WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY.  If you move forward with a deposit, your claim might be considered closed.  Be sure you have any/all checks in hand for the reasonable amount to complete your job before depositing claim check(s).
4. Be reasonable, but also be PATIENT. Again, your insurance company is hoping that your impatience wins out and you move forward without them or you move forward with an initial claim check that might not suffice to get all the work you want/need done. If you find that the amount offered is nowhere near your quotes from multiple qualified contractors, then don’t be afraid to bring these concerns back to your claim representative.  Discuss other options or preferred providers they might recommend to reduce the gap between your quotes and the claim amounts.  Remember, if a big storm hit multiple homes in your area, you might have to be extra patient to get the attention your home’s needs deserves.
5. BEWARE OF “STORMCHASER” CONTRACTORS–find a local contractor with an excellent reputation and a local address that has been around for at least 2 years.  Storm chasers might offer amazing deals because they’re here to do multiple homes in your neighborhood, but then they’re gone….never to return again to service a warranty for the work on your home.

While dealing with any insurance claim can be a hassle, knowing ahead of time the best practices can help get you on the road to repair and quite possibly get you the claim check you’ll need to get the job done right.

Ferris Home Improvements, your friendly local home improvement contractors in Delaware are experts at helping our customers wade through the home insurance claims process. Give us a call; we’ll be there when you need us!

www.FerrisHomeImprovements.com | 302.998.4500  | Contact Us