It may seem strange, while cleaning out your gutters from winter debris and seeding your lawn for spring, to think about the possible damage you may have from storms and floods in the coming months. But now is the idyllic time to check your homeowners, flood and umbrella policies to make sure that your coverage is complete. The biggest (and most frequent) mistake most policyholders make, is to check their insurance policies AFTER a disaster occurs, which is a time filled with stress and confusion.
Below are some tips that may help you to manage the process of filing an insurance claim, BEFORE you need do so, and WHEN you need to do so….
- Leave the Damage For the Claims Adjuster to Witness - It is vitally important that the accident area not be cleaned up and fixed. You should secure the area from any further damage and further deterioration, but only make necessary fixes. A claims adjuster needs to witness the damage in order to correctly and accurately list all the destruction that occurred. You may not be paid for losses if you cannot prove the harm occurred.
- Don’t Throw Anything Out – Spoiled food from a power failure, soaked carpets from a burst pipe, damaged furniture from an upturned tree, again, the claims adjuster will need to see and document what was damaged.
- Your Camera Is Your Finest Tool – It is always an excellent idea to take photographs of receipts, invoices, checks, etc., for high value or large expense items when you purchase them. These are easy to store and can be presented to your Claims Adjuster if someday you have to file a claim. Also, taking pictures of your damaged possessions is an excellent idea. You can give copies to the claims adjuster to help him with your claim.
- Understand What You Are Covered For – The time to read your policy and understand what you are covered for is BEFORE an accident occurs. Unfortunately policyholders will submit claims for items that are not covered under the stipulations of their policy. (Example: Homeowners policies do not cover flood damage. You must have a separate Flood Policy.)
- Now is the Time to Make Necessary Adjustments – Once a year, take your policy revisit and reread it. Maybe your life circumstances have changed. Maybe you need to increase your coverage. Most insurance companies will not allow you to make changes to a policy with an impending storm approaching. In may places you cannot purchase flood insurance without a 30-day waiting period. Put a date on the calendar each year to refamilarize yourself with your insurance policies.