When you have storm or hail damage, it can be a stressful event. Trying to assess the damage, determine the financial repercussions, and figure out the steps to take can be very difficult.
The following list should help to clarify the, sometimes, confusing insurance process.
1. Initiate your claim as soon as possible. Report your claim to your insurance company and attempt to obtain your claim number. Your claim number will be your primary reference point from start to finish for all parties involved.
2. Select a reputable contractor to represent you and to handle your contracting needs. The contractor you select should be willing to do much of the liaison work between you and your insurance provider. Your contractor should be experienced in insurance restoration work. This is sometimes a meticulous, time-consuming process that often needs professional analysis.
3. When selecting a contractor prior to having your property adjusted by your insurance provider, you may be asked by your contractor to sign an open ended, contingency contract. This is very similar to the type of contract attorneys’ use. This contingency contract is typically noted in the total price or dollar amount section of the contract and typically reads something like, pending insurance approval and proceeds. This means that if your insurance provider does not find damages warranting replacement then the contract is null and void. There is no further obligation on your part.
4. A contingency contract serves two purposes, first it serves as a written-agreement between you and your contractor. It shows good faith to your contractor that if they work as your liaison, and the work is replaced, you will allow that particular contractor to perform the work for the insurance proceeds. Secondly, many insurance providers will not work with a contractor without a written agreement between you and the contractor. In most insurance related projects, the only out of pocket expense you would be responsible for is your insurance policy’s deductible.
5. In cases where your insurance provider agrees to provide the funds to replace your damages and a dollar amount is determined, that exact dollar amount should then be inserted into the contingency section of the contract.
6. You will receive a breakdown from your insurance provider listing all items on your home to be replaced. Typically, both you and your contractor will assess this information to ensure all items stipulated are restored to original condition.
7. Most insurance payments occur in two phases, a first check (ACV – Actual Cash Value) is usually released after your insurance provider agrees to the damages. The final check with remaining funds from the claim, or depreciation, is then typically released upon completion of the project. (RCV – total Replacement Cost Value of the entire project=ACV+depreciation)
8. Request a final walk-through with your contractor upon completion.