Homeowners rarely have an occasion to make an insurance claim. When we do, the following are important points to consider to protect your interest.
- Take photos of the interior and exterior of your home and keep good records of any improvements. They will be helpful when submitting a claim.
- Keep a file of all correspondence and conversations with the insurance company including claim number, date of loss and description of damages.
- Select a contractor that is licensed, experienced and recognized in the trade for their competence and integrity. For obvious reasons, don’t hire storm chasers!
- Schedule to meet with the insurance adjuster and the contractor at the same time. Remember the contractor is there to work for you, represent your interests and navigate you through this process.
- It is not necessary to sign a “letter of commitment” with the contractor. This only limits the homeowner’s options when selecting specialized tradesman.
- Read and understand all agreements before moving forward.
- Should any structural repairs be required, it is recommended that the contractor consult an engineer to “seal” any repair drawings. This will provide the contractor with a scope of work and a record that may be needed in the future. The engineering fee should be covered by your policy but check first.
- Insurance payments are made in increments so good record keeping is important. Also, if your property has a mortgage, they may need to be contacted for larger claims.
This can be a stressful time. Take your time, seek competent advice and hire a contractor with whom you can trust.