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What to Expect When Filing a Claim

posted by TrueNorth Risk Management on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

What to Expect When Filing a Claim‚Äč

Did you suffer wind damage from the derecho? If so, you are likely in the process of working with your insurance carrier to process the claim. To assist, TrueNorth has compiled this claims process summary with key points to consider. 

Step 1 | Assess the damage

The first step is to formally assess any damage and initiate a claim with your insurance company. You will be assigned a claims adjuster and a claim number. If needed, this is the time to make temporary repairs to minimize the risk of additional damage. Be sure to document the damage with photos and compile a list of items damaged or destroyed by the storm. Items to list may include:

  • Roof damage 
  • Soffits and gutters
  • Siding 
  • Outbuildings 
  • Cost of temporary repairs 
  • Lawn furniture, grills, etc. 
  • Fencing
  • Costs for debris and tree removal
  • Food lost due to power outage
  • Time and material used to clear debris and trees

Step 2 | The inspection

Once your claim is filed, the insurance company will work with an inspector to assess property damage by either hiring an independent company (such as Ladder Now) or performing an inspection themselves. We strongly recommend that you are present during the inspection to voice concerns and identify areas of damage to the adjuster.

Step 3 | Work with the adjuster

Upon inspection, the insurance adjuster will review your damage assessment, gather additional information and begin estimating the cost of repairs. During this phase, communication with the adjuster is key. To expedite your claim, it is important to return the adjuster’s calls and emails and complete requests for additional information in a timely manner.

Step 4 | Work with a contractor of your choice

As the insured, you are responsible for managing the repair of your property. Be sure that contracted work is completed by someone you trust that is properly licensed and insured. Be wary of contractors that rush you or require prepayment. Gather repair estimates and submit them to the adjuster for review. You should also have your contractor place you on their repair schedule.

Step 5 | Determine the scope of work

Each contractor should develop a scope of work. These detailed plans outline the costs required to repair damage to your home. Policies with “Replacement Cost Coverage” will cover the cost of rebuilding with new materials of like kind and quality.

If the contractor cost and insurance company estimate do not align, contact your adjuster directly and share the estimate with them.

Typically, debris and tree removal coverage are very limited and varies by policy. We recommend you confirm coverage amounts with your adjuster for these items.

Lastly, it is important to keep copies of all receipts. This includes any expenses you incur associated with emergency repairs, debris and tree removal or contracted work.

Step 6 | Handling insurance claim payments

Once the scope of work and contractor costs are agreed upon, the insurance company may reimburse you in a few different ways:

  • You could receive a check early in the claim process to fund expected repairs. If repair costs exceed what was paid, you should consult the insurance adjuster prior to completing the work for additional payments.
  • In some cases, the insurance company may pay the contractor directly. In this case, you should work with the adjuster to understand how payments will be made.
  • If there is a mortgage or lien on your property, you can expect the claim check to require the bank’s approval to ensure repairs are made to the property. In this instance, you should work with your bank to ensure claims payments are made as appropriate.

Again, please be wary of paying a contractor in full and upfront. Typically, payment is made in installments as work is completed with final payment made when the job is completed.

Additional information can also be found via the Iowa Insurance Division website:

 IID: Claims Disaster Guide  

TRUENORTH CAN PROVIDE ANSWERS & SUPPORT

For more insight on the cliams process, please consult with your adjustor or your TrueNorth advisor. 

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