Surviving and Saving in the Home Insurance Claims Process

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Hail, NO!  If you’ve been hit by those softball size golf balls and have holes through just about everything around your house, here are some tips and pointers on surviving the home insurance claims process and making  those insurance checks s-t-r-e-t-c-h!

Surviving the Home Insurance Claims Process

  • Be Thorough: Make sure you are thorough when you describe the damage and the cause, but only stick to facts!  The home insurance claims adjuster will review the damage and your policy to determine what is covered, and how much the company will pay. You will be asked questions about how the damage happened, and what condition the home was in prior to the incident. Always keep in mind that the home insurance claims adjuster works for the insurance company!!
  • Try to be present for any inspections of the damage: Whether the insurance adjuster visits your home or sends an independent inspector, it may be in your best interest to be there as well. You can answer any questions, and prevent an outside party from jumping to conclusions.
  • Know your rights under the home insurance policy! Read through your policy, and make sure your company does what it is supposed to do. Get a claim number, a contact name and a phone number for your insurance claims adjuster.
  • Document EVERYTHING! As you go through the process of filing a home insurance claim, you will be in frequent communication with the company. It is important that you keep every document that you exchange with the company, and take detailed notes of any conversation that you have.

Finding a Good Contractor

After the storm, I could see contractors storming up and down the street, knocking on doors, hanging flyers, etc.  One year we used one of these guys to replace our fence.  Months later after the “new” fence started falling apart, we learned it really wasn’t a business and we were out of luck.  Here are some tips to avoid making the same mistakes:

  • Google the companies name, look for BBB profiles, learn their history, how long they’ve been in business, look at complaints (Note: be wary of some reviews, however as some people can be evil, look at consistency instead).
  • Use NextDoor for references from neighbors but make sure it’s someone who has been used by the referrer more than once.
  • Take emotion out and use logic.  If a contractor puts a tarp up to cover a hole in your roof, that doesn’t mean you have to hire them.
  • Watch for companies going in and out of business (look for DBA’s, LLC’s etc.)

How to Save Money and Headaches With Contractors:

  • Be your own general contractor.
  • Match appropriate tradesman for the work needing to be done. Find the correct person for the job.  Hire a roofer, gutter guy, fence repair, etc. all separately.  I know it takes a bit more time, but you’ll save a TON of money going directly to the expert.  A general contractor will simply mark up any additional work you need done and hire the right person to do it.
  • Make sure they have a license in the trade and general liability insurance.  This protects you with your insurance company.
  • Find the guys in the middle.  No those with sales reps and they guy in a truck with no insurance, it’s the middle honest guys you want.
  • Get 3 bids in a remodeling situation.