How can I make the insurance claims process go faster?
As a homeowner, you purchase property insurance because you have to and you hope that it does what you would expect if the worst were to happen. Most consumers do not have the time to read through every line of their insurance policy, so you likely don't know all of the fine details of what your insurance does or doesn't cover or what the process should look like when you file a claim. We are constantly asked, "How long will this take," when we provide estimates for repairs after water and fire-related damages to homes in Sumner and throughout Pierce County.
What should you expect during an insurance claim?
As we discussed in a prior blog post, there are a few factors with regards to what is covered, not covered, or may have limited coverage. If you contact your local insurance agent, they should be able to help guide you through the claims process. That first phase is called mitigation, where a property restoration company will determine the source and the extent of your damages and provide services to remedy impacts. Once that process is complete, you will want to get an estimate for repairs. This is where companies like ARES Restoration can assist you with restoring your Sumner home or business back to resemble pre-loss conditions.
The insurance claims process in simple terms:
Contact your local agent and discuss filing an insurance claim
Confirm the claim is covered by your policy
Initiate mitigation services by a qualified local service provider
Once the removal of affected materials has been completed, you can contact a trusted local contractor specializing in the insurance process to provide an estimate for repairs to your insurance company
What should you expect once you send a repairs estimate?
As a Sumner home and/or business owner, there are a few things you can to do assist with expediting the confirmation of an approved scope for repairs. At ARES Restoration we send our clients a document that we call Next Steps.
As you can see, our estimate is a detailed line-by-line scope of the work we plan to perform in order to restore your home to resemble pre-loss conditions with materials of like kind and quality.
When we receive a response from your adjuster, we will do our best to respond within 48 hours to those requests.
After 24 hours call and/or email your adjuster to confirm they have received our estimate. Most carriers that we work with expect us to respond to any of their requests within 24 hours.
This is a good time to contact your local agent and ensure that they are aware that you have filed a claim. They should be a resource for you during this time.
After 48 hours call and/or email your adjuster to request that they forward any questions about our estimate to us via email. Many adjusters have a heavy workload, as do most workers in any industry, but clear and consistent communication is a reasonable expectation.
After 72 hours you may want to call and/or email daily until you get a prompt and detailed response to your inquiries. If you have no response from the adjuster you may want to call customer service for your carrier to determine if you have the right claims representative information. You may want to inform your local agent regarding your claims experience so that they can further assist you in achieving a response.
After 96 hours, if you have no response, you may want to contact the customer service line for your carrier and/or a supervisor to discuss the claims response expectations for your carrier.
Some additional resources for homeowners during an insurance claim:
Choosing the right insurance claims contractor
A few things you should know about filing an insurance claim
Top 10 insurance claims tips from United Policyholders
Bill Wilson, the author of When Words Collide, joined The DYOJO Podcast with co-host David Princeton, of Advocate Claim Service, to discuss resolving insurance claims disputes (see video clip below)