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Be Prepared

Be Prepared

Preparation is essential for every aspect of life. One thing that is perpetually in the depths of people’s minds is the idea of insurance claims. Hopefully, an insurance claim never occurs. However, you have bought a policy for just in case something happens. Unfortunately, an insurance claim is almost inevitable, especially in high-risk regions such as the Midwest and along the coasts. When, not if, the time to file an insurance claim comes, having a policy is not enough.

The most common types of insurance claims are wind and hail. These are sometimes easier to navigate and do not require as much preparation. Fire claims, although less frequent, are exponentially more devastating.  According to the Insurance Information Institute, “about one in 350 insured homes has a property damage claim related to fire and lightning.” Putting these odds into perspective legitimizes the need to take extra time and energy to be prepared if a claim were to occur. Here are some pre-loss preparations you can participate in to give you a jumpstart if a claim happens:

  • Make sure you have your current Full Certified Policy. This is important for many reasons that many people do not think about when a claim occurs. You may be in possession of a Declaration Sheet already, given or emailed to you by your agent when you purchased your policy. This is only a summary of your coverage. The Full Certified Policy explains, in detail, how your property is covered, why it is covered, what is excluded, how it is excluded, and so on. Understanding why is in that policy becomes more important when a claim does happen. For example, if you are unaware of the limits for Additional Living Expenses and what is covered, you could exhaust this limit and leave yourself paying out of pocket until your claim is complete.
  • Prepare some sort of a pre-loss inventory of your personal property. This documentation can be done by recording every area of your house, whether this is with a video, pictures, etc. Make sure every nook, cranny, cabinet, drawer, closet, chest, and bag is accounted for. The spices in your spice cabinet, the extra phone charges in your junk drawer, and the makeup in your bathroom all add up. These items oftentimes make up over 40% of your personal property. This process will save you months worth of time if a claim does occur. Technically, you, as the policyholder, are responsible for proving the damages. Some insurance companies may do the inventory for you, however, you having a full list for your personal property is imperative so that your compensation is full and accurate.
  • Have a plan for the companies you will use in the event of an insurance claim. You will run into many different companies after you file a claim, sometimes competitors of each other. These companies include restoration companies, contractors, public adjusters such as Brown – O’Haver, even attorneys. Understanding what each company does, how they operate, how they are compensated, and whether not their services will be beneficial for you is important in saving you time and heartache. Do your research on any companies you are interested in using and any you come in contact with. Reviews and testimonials are almost always the best place to start.

For more information on how to prepare for a loss, you can read other articles from this blog. You can also visit our friends at United Policy Holders. They give free, unbiased advice on how to navigate and prepare yourself for your insurance claim. We, at Brown O’Haver, are professionals at navigating preparing and documenting losses. However, taking the above steps will speed up your insurance claim exponentially, even with assistance from a public adjusters.
Works Cited“Facts + Statistics: Homeowners and Renters Insurance.” IIIwww.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-homeowners-and-renters-insurance. Accessed Aug. 6th ,2020

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