By Lynne McChristian, I.I.I. Media spokesman and non-resident scientist
If Hurricane Dorian left its mark on your home or business, you've probably already started the claims process by calling your insurer. At the beginning of the recovery, it is helpful to know what will happen next.
The process of insurance claims is indeed a process. There are steps and requirements for both the policyholder and the insurance company. Most people have never had to make an insurance claim. And if so, it could be a car accident claim that can be far less complex than one that damages something as big and expensive as a house and everything inside it.
Following a widespread natural disaster, insurers are adopting a triage claims management approach, which means that those who have suffered the most damaging losses are seen first. Of course, everyone who is harmed wants to be seen immediately, but it is what serves the most needy to take care of people in the order of damage.
After you report a claim, someone is sent out to assess the damage. You may have more than one professional visit to insurance claims because they are separate expertise – depending on the damage you have reported. If you have flood insurance coverage, you can have someone look at the structure, send an additional loss adjuster for the content damage, and then send an expert on flood damage claims to your property. Some of these insurance professionals may work directly for your insurer, while others are hired as independent contractors to process your claim faster. Tip: Get a business card and cell phone number for each person who assesses the damage so you can track it.
If your home is so badly damaged that you cannot live in it, you may receive a check from your claims representative on site. This is not a billing check. This coverage is part of a standard homeowner policy known as additional living expenses. It covers the additional cost of having to live somewhere else while repairing or remodeling your home.
Above all, keep yourself organized and keep all your receipts. Temporary repairs that you have made to avoid further damage are included in your policy. They want to keep the process going in order to return to normal – and so do the insurers.