Steps in the Claim Process
Follow these simple steps to help ensure a hassle free claim process
1. Contact your contractor and have them evaluate the damage to your home. Make sure it exceeds your deductible on your homeowner’s insurance policy. A good contractor will help you determine whether filing a claim is advisable.
2. Contact the claims center of your insurance company and report you have had a contractor confirm damage to your home that exceeds your deductible. Request an adjuster at this time.
3. Once you complete reporting the claim, contact your contractor with the claim number. All future paperwork to and from your insurance company will be filed under this number.
4. The adjuster will contact you typically within 48 hours with the date and time they would like to inspect your property. It is always best to request their name and phone number and if possible, forward your contractors name and phone number to them for scheduling. Rainy days happen, they may need to reschedule day or time. If they set an appointment directly with you, contact your contractor immediately with that information so they can make themselves available or reschedule if need be. A good contractor makes sure the homeowner is being kept in the immediate communication loop.
5. After your contractor meets with your adjuster you will be given or sent a damage report and a first check from the insurer. Immediately forward a copy of that damage report to your contractor so he can begin verifying measurements, materials and charges. That first check is known as the Actual Cash Value of the damage to your home. This money will serve as a down payment for the work to be performed and occasionally there will be funds for personal property or things you will not repair. A good contractor will go thru this report and make sure you have a complete understanding of each section. In some cases the ACV check will be made out to you and your mortgage company. You will have to follow their instructions on how to process that payment.
6. Now that you have gone over everything with your contractor it’s time to give them your down payment to start the job. NEVER give any contractor more than 50% of the total up front. The rest should be due upon completion of all the work. This should begin the ordering, scheduling and selection process of your restoration.
7. Once the work is completed and leftover materials are removed an inspector will come out and approve of all the work being performed. You do not have to be present for this inspection.
8. At this time you should receive a copy of the final bill from your contractor. They will also submit that bill and a certificate of completion along with any other required paperwork to the insurance company. Once satisfied the insurance company will release the balance of funds including depreciation to you so that you can make final payment to the contractor. Once again you may have to follow the mortgage companies processing procedure one last time in order to get those funds.
9. A final walk thru with your contractor is always a good idea just in case any details were missed or undiscussed. I always recommend it before they are given final payment.
Remember that each process can vary slightly so make sure to ask questions if you don’t understand something. A good contractor is a transparent contractor and honesty is always the best policy!