Incidents involving property damage occur any time of the year, all over the country. Understanding the process can make huge difference in the way your claim is handled, and whether or not you get the compensation you deserve. Filing property claims can often be tedious and frustrating, but asking the right questions can steer you in the right direction. Here are seven popular questions about property damage claims:
- What does my property insurance cover?
Every policy is different, and you should review the terms every year. A typical property damage policy covers repairs to your home and personal property when faced with situations involving fire, lightning, windstorms or hail. There are additional riders available to cover flood and earthquake damage, and extremely valuable items.
- What is my responsibility after experiencing property damage?
The first thing you should do is report the loss to your insurance company or agent. If you are able to protect the affected areas with a tarp, or by turning off valves, do so. Take as many photos as you can to demonstrate proof. Even if you want to start cleaning up, wait until your property has been inspected. Do your own assessment of loss value to estimate the compensation needed to restore what was damaged. It is important to get any and all documentation in to the insurance company by the specified deadlines to ensure your case will be handled properly. Missing deadlines may cause your claim to be denied.
- What is the responsibility of the insurance company?
Once the insurance company receives your claim, they are responsible for processing your claim. They should immediately send an adjuster out to assess the damage. They have to take everything into account, including your photos, information on the cause of damage, and estimated value of your losses prior to the occurrence. The insurance company should make a timely and fair settlement offer within a reasonable time.
- What is a fair and reasonable time to settle a property claim?
Depending on the extent of your losses, and whether or not their offer is accepted, it could take a few weeks to over a year. While there are deadlines to adhere to for the policyholder, it is a process that can take longer than expected.
- Should I hire a public adjuster?
Many people hire public adjusters to work on their behalf, especially if the property damage is extensive. They will deal with the insurance company and act as an intermediary. They also inspect your property damage and determine how much the insurance company should pay. This could work to your advantage, especially if the insurance company is offering a low settlement.
- Will the insurance company provide temporary housing?
If the damage to your property makes it uninhabitable, your insurance company should arrange temporary housing for you. The amount of time this will be covered depends on your policy. In many cases, your rental/living expenses will be covered for up to one or two years.
- Will my policy be canceled after making a claim?
There are instances where the insurance company may attempt to cancel your policy after you submit a claim. If this occurs, you should immediately seek legal counsel. It is not uncommon for an insurance company to increase your premiums after submitting a claim.
When incurring a loss, do not panic. Bi-State Public Adjusters are ready and willing to assist you through the claims process, negotiating a fair and equitable settlement for your damages.
We work Exclusively for YOU. Take the time to focus on family, rebuilding and recovery. At Bi-State, we’ve got you covered!