When Disaster Strikes: Navigating the Claims Process

Date: January 23, 2017

Here’s what you need to know if your small business or home was damaged by the storms the swept across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia over the weekend:

Call your insurance company

At a minimum, you’ll want to ask:

  • What types of damage are covered?
  • How long will it take to process my claim?
  • Will I need to obtain estimates for repairs?

Make temporary repairs

While it’s OK to take steps to protect your property from further damage, you should hold off on making extensive permanent repairs until the claims adjuster (a person professionally trained to assess the damage) has visited your business and assessed the damages.  Make sure you save receipts for what you spend on repairs. 

Prepare for the adjuster’s visit

The more information you have about your damaged property ––descriptions of as many items as possible, approximate date of purchase and what it would cost to replace or repair them––the faster your claim can be settled.

  • To substantiate your loss, prepare an inventory of damaged or destroyed items and give a copy to the adjuster, along with copies of any receipts. Don’t throw out damaged items until the adjuster has visited. You should also consider photographing or videotaping the damage. If your property was destroyed, or you no longer have any records, work from memory.
  • Identify structural damage to your business and any supporting structures. Make a list of everything you want to show the adjuster, such as cracks in the walls and missing roof tiles. You should also get the electrical system checked. Most insurance companies pay for these inspections.
  • Get written bids from licensed contractors. The bids should include details of the materials to be used and prices on a line-by-line basis. This makes adjusting the claim faster and simpler.
  • Keep copies of the lists and other documents you submit to your insurance company. Also, keep copies of whatever paperwork your insurance company gives you and record the names and phone numbers of everyone to whom you speak.
 

 

 

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