5 Claim Tips from a Public Adjuster
Proper losses such as fires and pipe breaks typically come without warning, will you know what to do when and if it happens to you? On the other hand, hurricanes and other storm claims may come with warnings but what happens next, after the loss? Everyone agrees that after filing a claim you will expect your insurance company to pay the claim but do you know YOUR responsibilities after the loss? Most people don’t have many claims and therefore do not have experience with how to handle an insurance claim.
As a Florida Public Adjuster, I am going to offer my 5 most important claim tips to help you avoid potential problems in the event that you suffer a loss whether from a fire, water damage, hurricane, or any other peril.
Here are 5 claim tips from a Florida Public Adjuster:
- Personal Property / Contents – This can and usually is a complicated portion of the claim when you suffer a large loss. Most of us do not hang on to every receipt for all of our contents and proving what you had can be a difficult task after the loss occurs. I recommend putting together a detailed inventory list BEFORE you suffer a loss. If you would like a copy of the form our public adjusters use you can download a pdf copy here.
- Photos – The saying that a picture is worth a thousand words can be changed to a picture worth thousands of dollars in the event of a loss. I recommend taking more photos than you think you will ever need of your contents as well as the condition of your home. If you have a camera that offers a date stamp, use it. When you have a claim the more proof of what you had and the condition is only going to make the claim go that much smoother.
- Invoices & Receipts – This is very important in areas that have gone through hurricanes in the past several years. If and when another hurricane rolls through an area that was already hit, it is going to create some confusion. The insurance companies are not going to pay for the same damages twice and you may need to prove to them that you have already made the repairs. I recommend scanning all important invoices/receipts for and storing them in a cloud-based system so that you will be able to access them in the event that your home computer is damaged or missing. I personally use and highly recommend Dropbox.com.
- KNOW YOUR POLICY! Read and Understand your policy and what protection it offers you and what it does not offer. Unlike all of the commercials, we see every day, all policies are NOT the same. It is imperative that you make sure you have the right policy for you and your property. If you are not clear on something now is the time to work it out with your agent, after the loss is too late. Did you know that not all policies offer protection in the event of a water loss? Read and understand your policy, you may be surprised at what you find out.
- When discussing the claim with adjusters and company representatives, only state facts that you know are certain. Be kind and professional and choose your words wisely. Do Not speculate and verbalize every potential scenario that may have led to the loss. If they request a Recorded Statement or Examination Under Oath, seek representation as these could both be detrimental to the success of your claim.
Once you have all of these photos and documents together you want to make sure you store them in a place that will be accessible in the event of a loss. I recommend dropbox.com. They offer paid and free plans but best of all, it is easy to use. Many people store these documents in safes or back them up on external drives, this is fine but I do recommend having another copy off-site as hard drives can break and safes can get stolen.
Being prepared will help avoid potential problems, expedite the claim process, and likely increase your claim payment. Don’t wait until it is too late, prepare now! We offer a free claim consultation with a Florida Public Adjuster in the event that you suffer a loss.
Read some of our hidden gems within our blog archives, where public adjusters share their expertise and know-how about damage insurance claims.