A natural disaster or fire can be devastating for homeowners, leaving behind a mess—both physically and figuratively. Your home is in need of immediate repairs, but do you know where to turn? Do you know who to call and how to get the ball rolling? If you’re like most homeowners, the answer is probably not. For many homeowners, the easiest solution sometimes is to ignore the problem initially and worry about it later.
This, however, is the worst thing you can do following a fire or natural disaster. The best thing you can do as a homeowner is to immediately call your insurers and get your claim started. The quicker you file your claim, the quicker you can be reimbursed and get your repairs started. There is little time to hesitate, as damage from floods and fires can get exponentially worse in only a matter of hours. Delaying your claim could mean the difference between being able to restore some of the items in your home and everything being a total loss.
Read on below for the top tips to follow when you are dealing with disaster:
File Your Claim Immediately
Calling immediately is the most important thing you can do after a disaster. Water and fire damage can get significantly worse in only a few short hours. Waiting more than 48 hours can be devastating to your home. Calling immediately gets your claim put on record and may also help you get emergency restoration services deployed to your home. These crews can help pump water out of your home within hours of flooding occurring—decreasing the likelihood of mold and mildew growth, shortening restoration times, and reducing costs.
Inspect & Document Your Damages Thoroughly
Inspect every part of your home including attics, basements, storage sheds, garages, and any other structures that may reside on your property. Search for evidence of leakage, erosion, foundation damage, and electrical damage. Ensure that your heating and cooling system and major appliances are still working properly. Take photos of everything so that you have visual evidence to corroborate any damages you plan to report. It is also a good idea to always have pre-damage photos of your property on hand so you can make a more compelling claim for the extent of the damage your home has received.
Make Temporary Repairs
Temporary repairs such as roof tarping and boarding up broken windows or walls can help prevent additional damage and show the insurance company that you made an effort to mitigate further damage to your home. When you are performing these temporary repairs, make sure that you are not removing evidence of damage. While some insurance adjusters may take you at your word, many will not, so you may cause yourself to lose settlement funds.
Don’t Jump At the First Offer
You are not required to take the first offer that your insurance company makes. Many homeowners assume the first offer is the only offer and they have to take it or get nothing at all. This is not true. If you do not think you are getting enough, review your policy for coverage limits to ensure you are getting a fair settlement.
If the company refuses to go higher, but you are confident you deserve more, you can file a report with the state insurance department.
Research Restoration and Repair Companies
Many insurance companies will offer an incentive—such as a waived deductible—if you choose the contractor that they recommend. This could potentially lock you into a contract with a contractor that does not perform work that meets your standards. Always be sure to check your contractor’s references before you sign any paperwork. It is also important that you do not sign anything that approves payment until the work has been completed to your satisfaction.
Continue Monitoring Your Property’s Condition
Some damage may not be immediately evident. Even after repairs have been made, it is not uncommon for previously unknown damage to surface. This is especially true after flood damage. Flooding rains can cause foundation or structural damage that may not immediately be evident, but may show itself later. Keep an eye on your property to make sure you file additional claims within the deadline your insurance company sets.
Professional Disaster Restoration
If you have experienced a natural disaster or fire at your home or business and you are in need of emergency restoration services, contact Action Restoration today! We’ll help you navigate through your insurance paperwork and file your claim—minimizing work for you and getting your restoration work underway more quickly!
Contact us today by filling out a contact form or calling at 800-760-9081 today to get started!