Floods, falling trees, and storms are frightening events you may be faced with as a homeowner. When disaster strikes, do you know who to call, what to do, and could it have been prevented?
Knowing what to do during a home disaster, how to file an insurance claim, and when it would benefit you to call an insurance public adjuster is essential in helping you get through nearly any property damage scenario.
insurancepublicadjustersofgeorgia.com compiled a list of the most common insurance claims, how many of them can be avoided, how to file a claim, and what to do when you feel your insurance company is underpaying your claim.
How to file a home insurance claim
When your home is damaged, your insurance coverage is there to protect you, and filing a claim is not as difficult as it may seem. Follow these steps:
1 – Notify your insurance company of the damages.
2 – Review your policy and coverage with them.
3 – Ask what information is needed to process your claim.
4 – Document everything and be prepared to provide receipts, photos, videos, etc.
5 – Meet with an Adjuster.
6 – **Get an estimate for the total cost of repairs and replacement.
7 – Begin the repair and replacement process.
**If you feel that your insurance provider has not given you a fair offer, contact an insurance public adjuster to review the case and your insurance policy. They will go to work for you to retrieve the maximum payout for your property damage or loss claim.
The following are examples of damages that typically result in the filing of an insurance claim. In many of the following cases, losses can be minimized or avoided with some simple know-how.
Dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters, and all appliances that possess a water connection or drain can malfunction and leave you with a flood or water damage.
When the malfunction is from the water connection, quick action must be taken to prevent the buckling of the flooring or extensive structural damage. Hot water absorbs much faster and causes more severe damage than cold water. Nonetheless, both are emergency situations.
Prevention: Periodically check water connection points for leaks or corrosion and verify that the hoses, tubing, or pipes are unobstructed and undamaged (replace them when necessary).
When irregular sounds or cycles are detected, investigate the problem immediately. Sometimes, the appliance itself will need to be repaired or replaced.
Sump Pump Failure
Sump Pumps keep our basements and low-lying foundations free from accumulating water. However, when they fail to activate, flooding may occur very quickly.
Your insurance policy may not cover a sump pump failure, unless you take out a rider policy specifically for it.
Prevention: Periodically make sure that the wiring and hoses to and from your sump pump are all in good physical condition. Test the pump frequently.
If you believe frozen pipes are for the northern states, think again! Even the southern states can see temperatures below 32ºF.
During severe or prolonged freezes, water within pipes may expand, causing a buildup of internal pressure until the pipe bursts. Once the water within the pipe thaws, it’s likely that you will have a flood on your hands.
Floods resulting from frozen pipe bursts are typically covered by insurance policies, as long as you are living in the home at the time, or took preventative measures before embarking on a vacation.
Prevention: Insulate outdoor pipes and their entry points to the home. If your plumbing runs through an exterior wall and cabinets are hanging in that location, open one or two of the cabinet doors to allow the home’s warm air to reach the wall. Finally, opening a faucet to allow a trickle of water will help avoid the freezing of the pipes.
Ice dams are ridges of ice that form along the edge of a roof by thawing and refreezing water which prevent melting snow from draining off the roof. The water held back by the dam can leak through the roof causing damage to walls, insulation, ceilings, and other interior damage.
Damages caused by ice dams are typically covered by your insurance policy. If you are located in a region that is prone to frequent snow storms, verify that you do have this coverage or acquire a rider policy to cover it.
Prevention: Ice dams are difficult to prevent, as they often remain hidden from sight until temperatures stabilize above freezing. Once detected, they should be carefully removed as quickly as possible.
Roof damage from a hail storm can be very costly. Immediately after the storm passes, your roof and home’s exterior should be thoroughly examined.
If damage from the storm is discovered, a claim should be filed immediately. For those who choose not to inspect their home and roof, by the time you notice leaks caused by the storm, it may be too late to file a claim. Revisit the terms of your policy to review and understand any applicable hail and wind exclusions. Contact a public adjuster if your roof has been damaged and your insurance provider is denying or under-paying your claim.
Prevention: There is no way to prevent a hail storm. You can prepare for them by conducting a fall inspection of your roof and making necessary repairs. If you live in a region prone to hail storms, consider installing hail-resistant asphalt shingles.
Storms can bring severe winds with them. While wind damages are typically covered by insurance policies, you should revisit your policy to review applicable hail and wind exclusions.
After a wind storm, much like the hail storm scenario, inspect your home and file a claim immediately if damage is discovered.
Prevention: Like a hail storm, there is no way to prevent a wind storm. You can prepare for them by securing or moving outside objects indoors. Garden gnomes and patio umbrellas can be destructive projectiles in severe winds.
Inspect the exterior of your home for loose fixtures, gutters, or shutters and fix them. Lastly, have the trees around your home inspected in the fall and have them pruned or removed if necessary.
House fires are devastating events that can result in catastrophic damages and loss. House fires are frequent in wintertime due to the increased use of lights, mobile heating units, or central heating systems; fires are more prevalent in the winter but can happen any time of the year.
Prevention: Before using fireplaces, space heaters, dryers, or central heating units, have them inspected for potential defects, malfunctions, or hazards.
It is also imperative to inspect your breaker box to ensure that it is clear from debris, readily accessible, and that each of the breakers can easily be tripped and reset. Breakers that do not function smoothly or create a hissing or sizzling noise need to be inspected and replaced immediately.
When a tree falls on your house, there are several calls to make! Among those calls are your insurance company, a tree removal service, a plumber to inspect the plumbing throughout the house, and a water removal company if there was flooding.
Even if the tree fell from a neighboring property, it is your insurance that will cover your damages.
Prevention: Trees that are on or surround your property should be inspected annually by an arborist to determine their health and if action is needed to treat or remove them.
Likewise, pruning and trimming activities, when done properly, will help those trees remain healthy, balanced, and survive severe weather events.
Insurance Claims and Public Adjusters
A homeowner’s worst nightmare can come in the form of floods, falling trees, and storms. When disaster strikes, you have homeowners insurance to help you manage and get through unexpected damages to your home.
In this article, you learned how to file an insurance claim, what some of the most common insurance claims are, how to prevent significant damages, and when to call an insurance public adjuster.
Knowing how to respond to a home disaster, how to file an insurance claim, and when it benefits you to call an insurance public adjuster will help you recover from major damages to your home quickly. Your inaction or slow response could cause your insurance company to under-pay your claim or deny it altogether.
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