Homeowner’s Insurance Best Practices After Wind / Hail Storm
Understanding Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy after a Wind or Hail Storm: Ultimate Wind & Hail Damage Guide For Homeowners
If you pay your monthly homeowner’s insurance premiums, you probably assume that you’ll receive all of the benefits for any claims you may file. This isn’t always the case, however; if you want to receive the money that you are entitled to, you have to be proactive and follow the best practices outlined below:
Before the storm:
- Understand your homeowner’s insurance policy: Read and understand your homeowner’s insurance policy before you need it. Make sure you understand what is covered and what isn’t, and what it is you are paying for.
- Review your policy Take the time to review your homeowner’s insurance contract each year. If something has changed or concerns you, take this up with your agent. You can also ask your agent if anything has changed at time of renewal, and what, if any, changes those are.
- Keep track of your records: To prove the damage/loss of your personal possessions, it’s a good idea to keep receipts, take pictures or get an appraisal of your valuables such as jewelry or electronics
- Premiums: Make sure the premiums are paid.
After the storm:
- Document any damage by taking photos(turn on the date stamp), collect the hailstones in a zipped bag and put it in the freezer
- Contact your Qualified Local Contractor before you contact the insurance company
If your claim is denied:
- Dispute the process. Keep a paper trail of every stage of the claim from beginning to end as well as all the interactions with insurance company, insurance adjuster(name, title, contact info, and date)
- Don’t delay: Make sure you file and dispute claims in a timely way, because there may be time limits that could invalidate your claim if you wait too long.
- Be proactive: Never assume that the person you are speaking to knows all the answers, or that they will follow through on your requests in a timely way. Be proactive and move up to the next level if necessary to ensure that each stage of your claim goes off without a hitch.
Dealing With the Insurance Company
If your home suffers damage due to a hail or wind storm, you’re likely to be facing a confusing and difficult process of dealing with your insurance company’s adjuster.
Insurance adjusters are thoroughly trained in inspecting claims, including how to minimize your claim. That’s why you need an expert such as a QLC on your side during the process.
When it’s time to file a claim due to wind or hail storms:
- Go Slow. Don’t take the first, quick payment from your adjuster if he intends to close your file. Insurance companies want to do this if it means you’ll agree to their terms. But if you accept the terms before you find out all the damage, you could end up not having enough money to get all the repairs done.
- Follow your policy’s instructions in notifying your insurance To do otherwise could be to jeopardize your claim.
- Protect your property from further damage. Cover up holes in your roof or in windows to prevent additional damage, which is usually not covered by your insurance.
Understanding Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy:
Unlike an instruction manual for your new smartphone or camera, a homeowner’s insurance policy has a very dense language that is hard to understand. Very few homeowners actually read them which is a big mistake. If you don’t understand your homeowner’s insurance right now, imagine how hard it’s going to be to make sense of if something that you are trying to insure for does actually happen. If something were to happen to your home, such as a catastrophic event that meant its destruction, you wouldn’t want to be scrambling to find and decode your insurance policy at this time.
People who are in a state of shock are not going to be able to understand things like:
Replacement Cost Value (RCV) is the actual cost to replace an item or structure at its pre-loss condition.
Actual Cash Value (ACV) is not equal to replacement cost value (RCV). ACV is computed by subtracting depreciation from replacement cost. The depreciation is usually calculated by establishing a useful life of the item determining what percentage of that life remains. This percentage multiplied by the replacement cost equals the ACV.
Depreciation – Decrease in the value of property over time due to use or wear and tear.
It’s a fact that if your home were to burn down or be otherwise destroyed in a natural disaster, your insurance company would probably pay to replace your home, since this is what is known as a catastrophic loss. However, if your home suffers damage that is not catastrophic, such as hail or wind damage, you are more likely to have your claim denied, simply because the adjusters are looking closer at the damage. A claim represents a lost profit for the insurer- so it is in your best interest to be proactive when dealing with your insurance company.
Read Before You Sign
Although the homeowner’s insurance policies are as interesting as tax law- it is very important that you not sign any documents that have not read or fully understand. Don’t be afraid of asking questions until everything is clear.
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