Quick Guide to the Insurance Claims Process
Once homeowners can assess the extent of their personal losses, many will have to brace for another ordeal: navigating the insurance claims process.
Preparation and planning well before a incident can help homeowners avoid potential pitfalls. But how they handle the details when it comes time to file can help ensure receiving an adequate payout.
Our insurance claim specialists have been selected because of their knowledge and experience in the insurance claims industry as well as for their training in customer service and project management. We know what is needed at such an emotional time and we are here to help relieve you of the burden and stress of having to deal with it all on your own.
From the first call we are actively working on your behalf helping walk you through the whole process. Whether it is inspecting the damage, helping you make the initial call to your insurance company, meeting your insurance claims adjuster, planning the repair schedule, or actively carrying out the approved and necessary repairs we are with you every step of the way – maximizing the best possible value for home or business.
steps to Initiate Your Proerty Claim
Speed Clean Services works with ALL insurance companies. If you you do not see your insurance company listed here, please call your insurance agent or refer to your homeowner’s insurance policy for directions on filing a claim.
1. Call and notify your insurance company of the damage to your property (Give month or date if you can).
2. Tell your insurance company that a Claims Specialist from Speed Clean Services has been to your property and inspected it for damage. (Give the name of the Claims Specialist if you have it)
3. You will be assigned a claim number. Make sure to write this claim number down.
CLAIM NUMBER: __________________________________
ADJUSTOR NAME: _________________________________
4. Tell your insurance company that you would like Speed Clean Services to be present during their adjustment. Give them your Claims Specialist’s phone number and ask the adjustor to contact them directly.
The assignment of an adjustor to your claim may take a few days. It is your right to know when he / she is coming to your property and to ask them to coordinate this appointment with your Speed Clean Services Claims Specialist.
5. Write down the date & time of the adjusters appointment and inform your Claims Specialist of this appointment.
DO NOT FORGET TO NOTE THE DAMAGES OR ANY CONCERNS YOU WANT THE ADJUSTOR TO VIEW.
Insurance Claim Phone Number List
Here are six tips to Deal With the claims process:
1. MAINTAIN AN INVENTORY OF HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
Receiving a fair payout for damage to one's home and belongings begins by making a list of what you own, particularly the more expensive items, including what they cost, even if it's only an estimate.
Taking photos or even shooting video while you describe the items and how much you paid for them, works too. And, if possible, take digital photos and video, which you can store online on websites like Flickr and Picasa. That way, you can access them in the event your computer is damaged.
You don't have to count out or photograph every single CD or piece of dinnerware you own, for example. A photo of your CD rack or your China cabinet will do.
If you have receipts saved for your more valuable items, take photos of those, as well.
"A lot of people can't remember what they had for breakfast, much less what's been stored in the attic the last 20 years," says Jeanne Salvatore, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute. "If you have an inventory, it makes life a lot easier."
2. UNDERSTAND SCOPE OF YOUR COVERAGE
Knowing what your insurance policy covers and what it doesn't is essential to getting through the claims process quicker.
You don't want to have to rely only on what claims adjusters tell you, especially as they go through the process of evaluating how much of a payout you're going to get.
When it comes to hurricanes and other major weather-related damage, it's important to remember that standard homeowners' insurance does not cover flood damage. And if you haven't purchased that separately, you will not be able to get reimbursed for damages caused by flooding.
Flood damage is defined as water rising from the ground up, unlike, say, if you have a hole in your roof and rain is spilling in.
In addition, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and 15 other states let insurers include deductibles in their homeowners' insurance policies in the event of a hurricane. Such deductibles vary from 1 percent to 5 percent of the insured value of the home. But each state makes its own determination on whether a storm will trigger those deductibles, so check with your state department of insurance to see if that will be a factor in your coverage.
You can find links to Michigan's insurance department at www.naic.org
3. QUICKLY DOCUMENT DAMAGE AND MAKE ONLY TEMPORARY REPAIRS
After the storm, once it's safe to move about, it's important to take photos of the damage right away. Comparing these photos to the ones taken before the storm can be used to establish the value of items that are damaged or destroyed.
If holes have been torn in your roof or windows are broken, cover them quickly to prevent further damage, but don't make any permanent repairs. But take photographs or videos of the damage before you start working.
And don't throw out damaged furniture or other expensive items until an adjuster has seen them.
4. CONTACT YOUR INSURER RIGHT AWAY
Homeowners should call their insurer quickly and get the claims process rolling, regardless of how much damage their home has sustained.
You can contact your insurance agent for information on how to file a claim. Or, if the agent can't be reached, contact the company directly via the Internet or phone.
Even if you've been evacuated and have yet to return to your home, but it's in an area that may be flooded or known to have been damaged in the storm, call your insurer and tell them, Salvatore says.
Doing so can help establish that you have to spend time in a hotel, something you may be able to get reimbursed for later.
Also, note the name and number of everyone you speak with during the claims process. That can help clear up any confusion that may arise along the way.
5. BE PREPARED TO NEGOTIATE
Once insurance adjusters look over the damage, they will determine the size of your payout.
But if that figure seems too low, there are ways to voice your disagreement and try to work out a better settlement.
You'll want to ask the adjuster to show you the contract language and justify the proposed amount.
If you're still dissatisfied, get a second or even third opinion on the cost of repairs from independent contractors. You can use that to argue for a bigger payout.
Ideally you can work it out with the adjuster, but if not, you can try to make your case with someone at the company's regional or national office.
"You need to be ready for a fight and be tough working with your insurance agent," says Jeff Blyskal, senior editor at Consumer Reports.
Another option to help bolster your case for a better settlement is to hire a public insurance adjuster.
They are experts on the insurance claims process and can assess the damage to a home and help build the case on behalf of the homeowner.
The insurance industry argues that public adjusters charge homeowners for services that homeowners can do themselves. Public adjusters typically charge 10 percent of the settlement amount.
Credited adjusters can be found at the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters' website, www.napia.com .
6. WATCH OUT FOR SCAM ARTISTS
Many homeowners want to immediately get started on repairing the damage to their property. This makes them targets by unscrupulous contractors looking to overcharge for repairs.
"Con artists will demand large cash deposits, or push you to sign a contract that might not be in your best interest," Salvatore says. "Don't be rushed into anything."
Types of Damages
Vandalism that results in structural damage, such as broken windows, stolen copper pipes or wires, or damaged doors and walls may keep a business from opening its doors, resulting in monetary loss. When it occurs in a residence, you may find yourself in a temporarily unlivable situation. We work with you and your insurance company to make sure this type of damage is repaired as quickly as possible, and your home or business is restored to its pre-loss condition.
Cosmetic damage caused by vandals, such as graffiti, can be just as harmful as structural damage. Although graffiti may not affect the structure of a building, it affects its character. A business suffering from graffiti and other cosmetic vandalism may be less attractive to customers, and a home that has been tagged may lose value in the market and become an eyesore for the neighborhood. We can be on the spot immediately to mitigate this type of damage.
Leave it to the experts
If you are the victim of vandalism, there are three calls you need to make: The police, your insurance company, and Speed Clean Services. Your best strategy is to leave any containers or other material the vandals may have left for the police. If there is broken glass, don’t attempt to remove large pieces from the window pane, leave the dangerous clean-up to the experts at Speed Clean Services.