How to File an Insurance Claim
Insurance Filing – Steps to Take
Call your insurance company, report the damage, and file a claim. Write your claim number down. You can call your claim center number on the back of your card or if you are unsure ask our representative, I am sure we have worked with your insurance carrier before.
Make a list of the damage you have noticed, if damage is a result of a hurricane it is more obvious. However, in a hail storm you should look for dents in windows beads and fascia, damaged lawn furniture, dents in roof vents and pipe caps, dents in gutters, or bent fins on the air conditioner. Roofing damage is the one thing that you cannot assess from the ground. Just because damage is not visible certainly does not mean there is not any damage and it could be extensive. One place to look is at the end of the downspouts for small pieces of roofing and/or granules. Keep your list and go over with both your adjuster and contractor.
Your insurance company will assign your claim to an insurance adjuster who will contact you to come and assess your damages. It is very important for you to file your claim as soon as possible because in a disaster area, it is not uncommon for the adjusters to be 3 to 6 weeks out in coming to your home. The adjuster’s primary function is to look at your property and give you an accurate accounting of all your storm related damages and a written estimate of what it will cost to restore your property back to its condition prior to the storm. The initial figure is an estimate and actual costs to restore your property may vary which can easily be handled by a contractor who is well versed in working with storm damaged properties.
Your adjuster should provide you with a “Statement of Loss” itemizing your losses and the estimated cost to repair each. The loss statement will reflect the replacement cost value (RCV), the depreciation, and the actual cash value (ACV) of your loss – the ACV column will reflect the amount of your first check minus your deductible. The depreciation column is the money held back by the insurance company until all work is complete and an invoice submitted by the contractor for payment. The insurance company will then issue you a check for the exact amount between the invoice and ACV portion of your first check, the ACV and depreciation should total up the RCV.
It is important to understand that the insurance companies hold back money (depreciation) to monitor whether repairs are made to the property and to ensure that they do not pay any more than replacement cost for the damage. Remember that the adjusters are hired by the insurance companies and are generally part of a catastrophic disaster team from a different area of the country.
The adjusters are representing the interest of the insurance company and they will often tell you to get multiple estimates to repair your damage, however, the only person saving money by getting multiple estimates is the insurance company while you are spending the time getting all the estimates. No matter what the estimates are the insurance companies will ONLY pay replacement cost value.
Many homeowners realize soon after the process begins, that the best approach is to interview contractors and choose one they trust, one that is knowledgeable and has a proven track record in the industry, one that has the credentials to support their objectives, and who can complete their job and wait on the insurance money.
CHOOSE A CONTRACTOR:
a. Be sure to make an educated decision promptly – to get you in line to complete your project because reputable companies will be inundated with requests.
b. For the contractor to be present with your adjuster during the INITIAL inspection of your home – this is very valuable to you, as our representatives know what to look for and how to get you maximum benefits under your policy. The technical sales representatives working with Diamond KK, Inc. all have prior experience in roofing and all with 10+ years in the industry. Therefore, they are very diligent in assuring you the best possible value and recovering most of the money available to you to restore your property.
We are very flexible and understand that you want to make the best out of the opportunity. Working closely with your contractor and sharing your insurance paperwork ensures that you are getting a fair settlement from your insurance company.
Our representatives have reviewed hundreds of loss statements and do run across inexperienced adjusters who have incorrect measurements or they miss something which makes your settlement less than it should be – we have office staff to assist you in filing all additional paperwork, and, if needed, filing supplemental claims on your behalf.
If you are required to get 3 bids by your insurance company before they will send an adjuster out, choose one of the 3 contractors and go with that bid. You are not required to go with the lowest bid – choose the contractor you are MOST comfortable with – any price shopping you do for the insurance company – focus on quality of work, company stability, and customer service.