The following steps are a guide you can use after a natural disaster.

First of all, contact your insurer:   These are some of the questions to ask: Are the damages suffered included in the terms of the policy coverage? Does the damage exceed the deductible? How long will the claim process take? ?, and Need to submit repair cost estimates?

Make Interim Repairs Necessary: Take necessary precautions to protect your property from further damage.

  • Cover holes in the ceiling, walls, doors or windows with plastic or wooden planks.
  • Keep receipts for any repair supplies you buy. The insurance company may reimburse you for the costs of these interim repairs. Be careful about the expenses you make for temporary repairs (especially those contractors who tend to increase costs). Remember that the money you spend for temporary restorations will not be available for permanent repairs.
  • As long as you don’t expose your property to further damage, it’s a good idea to wait to begin repairs once the insurance adjuster makes an assessment of the damage to your home.

If you incur additional living expenses

Most homeowners insurance policies cover additional expenses in the event that your home suffers a loss. Among which are: 

  • Daily food and / or housing expenses.
  • Expenses for the installation of telephone or other public services in a temporary residence.
  • Transportation costs or expenses for storage of belongings while the repairs last.
  • Temporary furniture rental.

Generally, the insurance company will advance you the funds for these expenses, but it may vary depending on your policy. The maximum amount available is usually close to 20% of the home’s policy amount. For example, if your home is insured for $ 100,000, up to $ 20,000 would be available for additional payments. 

In addition, the maximum coverage amount of the policy, $ 100,000, will be used to pay for repairs or reconstruction of the home. Some insurance companies pay more than 20%. Others limit payments for additional costs to the amount spent over a certain time, for example 12 months, instead of a maximum percentage of the policy limit. Consult your specific policy and clarify your doubts.

Insurer adjuster inspection

The claims process can be done in two ways: 

  • The insurance company may send you a claim form, known as a proof of loss form, to fill out with your claim details.
  • You can receive a visit from an adjuster before filling out the form. The adjuster is a professional specialized and trained in fixing the damages that your property has suffered. Typically, the more information you provide about your home and belongings, the faster your claim will be processed.
  • When you receive a visit from a claims specialist, he or she will do a full damage review to the home. In the event of a natural disaster, the activities of insurers increase considerably. If there are many severe cases, the appraiser will do a cursory assessment that will give you an idea of ​​the extent of the damage.
  • If the claims adjuster doesn’t do a full evaluation, try to make another appointment so you can finish your review.
  • You should keep copies of all documents that you provide to the company and also retain all documents that you receive from the company.
  • The insurance company will provide you with the services of an adjuster at no cost, but you can hire a public adjuster if you wish. If you find it difficult to resolve your claim, it may be an option to hire a public adjuster.

Public adjusters: Generally charge as fees up to 15% of the total value of the compensation amount to repair damages (not provisional expenses, but repair expenses), and this charge is not covered by the insurance policy. Sometimes after a disaster, the percentage charged by public adjusters is set by the state insurance department. 

If you decide to hire a public adjuster, be sure to thoroughly research their qualifications (and references) first. Avoid those individuals who go door-to-door after a disaster, unless you are very sure you are a qualified public appraiser.