You are lucky that you have never been required to file an insurance claim. It’s great that you have not suffered a significant loss enough to file an insurance claim. However, it is also a blessing not to have to go through the insurance claim process.
How can you play the insurance claim games? Let’s just say there’s more to it than simply throwing the dice and crossing Go, and collecting $200. Although the goal of most games is winning, this one starts with a loss. It doesn’t matter how big or small the loss, it can be a broken car, a burned house, theft of valuables or water damage carpets and cabinets. No matter what the loss is, this is the hand you are dealt.
Every loss type comes with its own set of problems. This makes it more difficult! Imagine that your house is flooded because of a burst pipe. You have not only lost your home, but also a mess and potential for mold growth if it isn’t dried out in 72 hours. The clock is ticking. This is not fun.
But we’re just getting started. There are safety issues to be aware of, emergency repairs to be made, paperwork to file for insurance, temporary lodging to be found, and water damage professionals to be hired.
Your opponent now takes a turn. Which player is the other in this game? They are your insurance company, and yes, they are against you. This isn’t Monopoly money, but potentially thousands of dollars. This is actual U.S. Treasury currency.
You have already paid your premiums. Now you can get a fair settlement. The insurance company must reduce losses to remain profitable. This means minimizing your loss.
Insurance companies have often signed contracts with preferred vendors, who agree to certain rates to gain their business. A preferred vendor is one of the first things an insurance company does.
It’s your turn. You can use the recommended contractor by your insurance company if you don’t have a preference or aren’t sure who to call. However, they are not required to recommend you. Many states allow customers to choose their own contractor, which means you can hire your own water damage restoration company.
It’s your opponent’s turn. Your insurance company will send an adjuster out to assess the damage to your house. The adjuster is friendly, and he’s easy to get along with. He is also a representative of the company and must minimize any losses. He might overlook the damaged baseboards and suggest that you paint instead of removing all drywall. He won’t ask you to list any personal items that have been damaged.
It’s your turn. Your opponent is on offense so you need to defend yourself. Begin by inviting either your contractor (an individual who represents you) to be present when the adjuster arrives. A professional will ensure that less obvious damage is not overlooked or underestimated. Also, keep a detailed inventory of all damaged items. This will ensure that nothing is left out.
Your opponent will continue to throw mountains of paperwork at you, including claim denials and low-ball settlement proposals, delays, and other tricks. You can play your cards well and negotiate a fair settlement, hire a contractor to repair your property, and restore it to its original condition.