One of the downsides of homeownership is discovering unexpected damage. They always seem to occur at the most inconvenient time causing time, money and frustration. Here are some tips, if it ever happens to you.
1. Document your damages or loss. Take photos if there is physical damage to building items such as walls, ceilings, flooring, baseboards or cabinetry. If the loss was due to burglary or theft, attempt to locate receipts, credit card statements, emails or previously taken photos which may show the item either directly or indirectly.
2. Protecting your property from further damage. All insurance policies require you to mitigate your loss. This may include calling in a plumber, roofer, AC technician or police if the loss was due to theft. Keep in mind, what may appear to be a minor issue can sometimes be an indication of a more serious problem lurking within.
3. Check your insurance policy or speak with your agent. Know how much your deductible is. Many policies contain limitations or exclusions for water, mold, cash, jewelry, firearms or even electronics.
4. Report the claim to your insurance company. Take note of the date and time the claim was reported. They will usually assign a claim number right away. The Insurance company adjuster will usually be in contact with you within 24-48 hours to schedule the inspection.
5. Here is where the fun begins. Policies and statutes allow the insurance companies up to 90 days to finalize your claim. Please consider hiring a licensed public adjuster to assist you with the claims process.