The vast majority of individuals that file an insurance claim after storm damage typically expect their insurer to quickly provide the funds to restore their home to pre-damage condition. That’s not necessarily true. The claims process can be a long and frustrating process.
Navigating Insurance Claims
After an insurance claim is made by homeowners, the insurer will dispatch their adjuster to make an on-site inspection of the damage and restoration costs. Individuals should be aware that the adjusters work for the insurance company, not the policyholder. The adjuster’s job is to protect the insurance company’s interests and damage may be underestimated.
The final dollar figure will be based on the terms and conditions stated in the insurance policy, minus the deductible amount. Insurers have 30 days in which to notify clients if the damage is fully covered, partially covered, or still being investigated. It’s critical that policyholders understand the extent of their coverage, especially if they’re unable to live in their homes during the claims and restoration period.
It typically takes about 90 days for an insurer to make a decision. It can require another 20 days before a payment is actually issued. Policyholders do have the right to reopen the claim if the amount paid by the insurer is insufficient to cover the entirety of the damage.
It’s important for homeowners to photographically document the damage themselves. Do it as soon as it’s safe to do so, preferably before the insurance adjuster arrives. It provides individuals with a level of protection should there be a dispute about the extent of the damage. Some insurers have preferred providers for restoration work, while others let individuals select the professionals of their choice.
Hire a Public Adjuster
It can be beneficial to hire a public adjuster if the destruction is extensive. It’s an extra expense for homeowners, but one that can be invaluable if there’s a dispute with the insurer. A public adjuster works for the homeowner, not the insurance company.