Property owners usually associate the filing of an insurance claim with hurricane or tropical storm related damage. However, many policyholders are unaware that you do not need to go through a major storm to sustain significant damage to your home/business. Every day, insureds across the state sustain damage from plumbing failures, faulty dishwashers, fires, vandalism and other sudden and accidental perils.
This is why it is important to understand the insurance claim process before disaster strikes. No one wants to deal with the stress of squeegeeing gallons of water and trying to navigate through the insurance claim process.
Here are 4 tips to keep in mind when facing a property loss.
#1 Safety First
The first step you should take is to make sure your family is not in immediate danger. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation (i.e. house fire), vacate the premises and call your local law enforcement agencies immediately.
#2 Mitigate the Damage
That should go without saying. You should try to contain the disaster / damage to your property and your personal belongings. For example, if there is water spewing out of a pipe, it would be wise to do the following:
- Turn off the water source
- Turn off the main water supply line to the property
- Clean up water with a shop-vac and other household items
- Call an emergency water extraction/restoration company
#3 Document Everything
Photograph and videotape the damages to your property. Everyone knows, a picture is worth a thousand words but you should also describe the extent of the damage in any video recordings. Next, make a list of the damage to your property. It is always helpful to inventory and value personal items that may have been damaged. Items that you deem destroyed (total loss) should not be discarded, instead set the damaged property aside for your insurance company to inspect.
#4 Make Two Calls
As soon as possible, call your insurance company to let them know what is going on. At Pazos Law Group, we also recommend hiring a licensed Florida independent insurance adjuster. If and when you hire a public insurance adjuster, he or she works for you – not the insurance company. Your public adjuster will look out for your best interest and advocate for you. A public adjuster is your expert and he/she will work with your insurance companies to favorably resolve your insurance claim.
If you followed the steps listed above and your claim was underpaid or denied, we will work with you and/or your public adjuster to ensure you get the most out of your claim. You pay your premiums and you deserve to be compensated in full for your loss.