Last Updated: August 8, 2023
Natural disasters are always stressful events – but if your home or business is damaged or destroyed by a major weather event or other peril, the experience can be absolutely overwhelming. At the time of this article, in 2023 there have been 15 confirmed weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion in the United States. Even smaller disasters can wreak massive havoc on your life. The last thing you want to worry about are insurance claims and whether you received a fair settlement. Understanding your policy, knowing what to do and who to hire will make a huge difference in how quickly you get your claim processed and get your life back on track. Here are some tips to maximize your insurance claim.
1. Take Inventory
Take a photo inventory of your property and belongings so you have them on hand if needed to show your pre-loss condition. We recommend doing this at least once a year. After a storm or natural disaster, create a detailed list of damaged or destroyed items. Make sure you have receipts and photos to back up your claim. Check out Insurance Information Institute’s guide to creating an inventory list. Businesses can use this too.
2. Take Photos & Videos of Damage
If you have property damage, immediately document it with photos and video. Be sure to get a variety of angles in your photos. You can use the video feature on your smartphone to capture even more detail and data. What you see today will be totally different from what you see tomorrow and certainly what you see in a week or two. As we’ve seen all too often, sometimes disaster strikes twice. The more photos and video you have to prove the damage, the easier the claim.
3. Hire a Public Adjuster
If you want to ensure you receive a fair settlement and avoid the nightmare and hassle of dealing with your Insurance Carrier, hire an expert Public Adjuster. A PA is a licensed and trained professional dedicated to maximizing your payment and ensuring a smooth claim process. The PA manages all aspects of your claim from start to finish and works independently to negotiate fair and balanced settlements on your behalf. The PA reviews your policy, conducts damage assessments, property inspections, and gathers paperwork, reports, assessments, photos, and measurements to support your claim. PAs work with your Insurance Company, General Contractor, and any other relevant parties involved in your claim including Attorneys, Engineers, and Appraisers. While it’s ideal to hire a PA at the onset of your claim, they can also be pulled in later if your claim is underpaid or denied.
4. Document & Save Damaged Items
Be sure to save your damaged items until the Public Adjuster and Insurance Adjuster come out to do the inspection. This serves as important evidence for your claim. Also, as noted above, be sure to take photos. Your carrier has to see the detailed proof of the damage, so cleaning up without documentation can hurt your claim.
5. Mitigate Further Damage
With that being said, if you have an emergency such as flooding, leaks, or a burst pipe, don’t wait for your Insurance Adjuster to come out and assess your property to get emergency repairs. Call us and we will go out right away to document and assess your damage. If a mitigation company is needed, we will let you know right away so the restoration or mitigation company can attend to it and prevent further damage. Be sure to save all of their assessments, photos, reports, detailed scope of work performed, and receipts.
6. Obtain Property Repair & Restoration Estimates
Get multiple estimates from Licensed Contractors for your property damage repairs. We recommend getting at least 2-3 quotes. When deciding on the company, check their reviews, references, testimonials, workmanship, and accreditations. You can find out a lot about them with a quick Google search. Be sure to review their website carefully. A reputable company will have all of the above included on their website.
7. Document All Communications
Be sure to save all communications with the carrier and any companies you’ve worked with on your claim. Document your written correspondence, reports, and be sure to save voicemails, emails, and other updates. Save all reports and receipts.
Claim It With Cordo®
With over 20 years of experience, our expert Public Adjusters at Cordo Claims Group help homeowners and businesses receive fair and balanced settlements. We specialize in property damage claims from devastating events including hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning, wind, hail, water, flood and fire, as well as other perils including theft and vandalism. Damaged? Denied? Underpaid? Contact 1-877-55-CORDO (1-877-552-6736) for an assessment!