Tackling the Insurance Claims Process | 7 Tips

According to the Insurance Information Institute, wind and hail are the most frequent causes for homeowner damage claims. Somehow that fact doesn’t make the claims process any easier to navigate. Frankly, it can be confusing and frustrating. There have their own acronyms for goodness sake! Never mind the mounds of paperwork and math. Yes, math. Blue Fox can help. Check out these simple tips for after the storm:

Tip 1 | Understand Your Policy

Don’t wait for a storm to handle this suggestion. Take a look at your declarations page. It will detail a few policy essentials, including your deductible for instances of wind and hail damage. This deductible may be fixed, or it may be a percentage of your replacement value. If you cannot clearly identify how you’re covered for wind and hail damage, make a call to your agent. A great homeowner’s agent will help you understand the ins and outs of your policy.

Tip 2 | Document Suspected Damage

After the storm has cleared and it’s safe to get outdoors, walk the perimeter of your home. Look for signs of damage. Blown off shingles on the ground, branches on the roof, ping marks in your soft metal roof accessories or in the shingles themselves. Blue Fox never recommends getting on your roof to survey the situation. Leave that to us! A thorough examination from the ground, through binoculars is more than enough. Or take a gander from behind a second story window with a rooftop view. If you see any suspect areas, take photos to share with your insurance company.

Tip 3 | Call Your Insurance Company

If you’ve seen any legitimate signs that storm damage has occurred, call your insurance company.  Describe to them your concerns and share your photos. Whether you ultimately file a claim or not, calling your insurance company is just part of the process.

Tip 4 | Contact a Reputable Contractor

Ask friends and neighbors if they have a trustworthy contractor they’d recommend. Honesty is such a lonely word, especially when you’ve got suspected storm damage at home. Storm-chasing roofing contractors prey on worried, unsuspecting homeowners after severe weather. They happily take your insurance money while installing subpar materials with inferior workmanship. Remember what your granddad said, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Instead, you’ll want reputable local pro to assess your home and determine the extent of damage, if any.

Tip 5 | Keep Impeccable Records

Keeping records of your interactions with contractors and insurance adjusters is going to serve as a protection to you. Before you call your adjuster, have your policy number and claim number handy. Take notes on every call. Save every email from your adjuster, desk adjuster, agent and roofing contractor. If you pay out of pocket for emergency services (like tarping), save your receipts.

Tip 6 | Meet Your Adjuster

If you proceed with filing a claim, an adjuster will be sent to your home to inspect the damage. Your insurance company may not require your presence, but you’ll want to be there. Be nice to your adjuster. If you’ve been working with a trusted contractor to identify damage, invite them to meet the adjuster as well.  Your preferred contractor’s already familiar with your home’s damage. So, he can point it out efficiently an overworked, harried adjuster.

Tip 7 | Embrace the Negotiation

Ideally your insurance company will estimate the damage to your home accurately and within your policy limits. But sometimes items get missed. Does your insurer cover code upgrades? Have they taken accurate measurements of every square and linear foot of your roof? Did they count all the vents, account for standard job waste? After a big storm, it’s understandable that a busy adjuster might miss a few elements. A good contractor will help you identify areas where your insurance company’s scope of work has shortfalls.