With the over 1,000,000 expected Hurricane Irene insurance claims, it's only reasonable to anticipate that insurance companies are going to be overburdened. If you sustained roof damage or property damage due to the storm, you will essentially be competing with all your insurance company's other customers for prompt service. Here are nine ways in which you can help your chances of getting a fair and adequate settlement:
- Do not delay. Your hesitation in initiating the claims process will push you even further behind other customers.
- Record your claim number and have it available anytime you are speaking with someone about your claim.
- Inquire about the adjuster. Sometimes an insurance company will hire an independent adjuster to handle your claim. This can present a problem if the adjuster hired is not authorized to actually make decisions and settle your claim. Get the name of your company's insurance adjuster who has hired this independent adjuster and contact them if there is any confusion.
- Record every single encounter (phone call, email, and meeting) with the insurance company. With this record, you can dispute them if they try to claim you were not responsive or available.
- Create a master list of EVERYTHING that was damaged due to the storm. If you forget an item or structure that was damaged, you will lose out on money owed to you.
- Document your damage with photos. This is especially important to do before you begin any repair work. You should also save all receipts, even those for emergency repair bills and hotel stays due to uninhabitable conditions at home. These expenses may be covered by your policy.
- Stay on top of your claim. Call the insurance company periodically to check up on your claim and ensure they are working on it.
- If the insurance company attempts to deny your claim or offer you an unfair amount, consider hiring an attorney. An attorney will know the specifics of claims cases and will be aware of any tricks the insurance companies may pull.
- File a complaint with your state insurance department if your insurance company is not upholding their end of the bargain.
Ultimately, the insurance company is just that: a company; and your welfare is not always their top priority. If you want to maximize your chances of a good settlement during your claims process, or if the insurance company is not cooperating, consider contacting the experienced hurricane damage attorneys at The Voss Law Firm at 888-614-7730.