Firstly, immediately file your claim. Call your insurance agent or company, and be aware of any timeline requirements.
Many claimants fail to act with urgency and due diligence. That’s a caution from my experience in the insurance industry.
Follow these tips:
1. You might be apprehensive, but stay calm. Inquire about what data, documents or forms the company requires.
Note: Keep a record of all conversations – word-for-word – with creditors, insurance representatives and relief agencies.
2. Provide all information to your insurance company as soon as possible.
3. Check with your company about “additional living expenses” or additional needs.
4. In addition to written documentation, take pictures/video of all the damage.
5. Make any temporary repairs to prevent additional damage – broken windows, damaged walls or leaking roof. However, don’t make permanent repairs until you get an OK from your insurer for the cost of repairs.
6. Make certain you keep all damaged items. The insurance company inspector might insist on it.
7. Before you cash any checks from the insurance company, ask for and examine the company’s reasons, or explanation, of the settlement offer.
8. Keep all receipts and make copies available to your insurance company.
9. Be sure to get rid of any hazardous materials – if you can do it safely. That includes any antifreeze, chemicals, insect and weed killers, and paint.
10. Perform due-diligence research on contractors – even if recommended by your insurer. Check their standing with your state regulatory authorities. Verify the license, building permits, insurance and bonding. Write down the contractor’s license number and driver’s license number.
Ask for at least three references. Check to see if the company has any online reviews and study them.
11. Take caution with a contractor who wants payment – partial or full – before the work starts or is completed. If you hire a contractor who asks for money to buy supplies, accompany the contractor to the supplier – pay the supplier directly.
12. Beware that it’s common for homeowners to have disagreements with contractors. If you disagree with the contractor, keep your insurance company in the loop.
13. If you have dissatisfaction with the insurer, try to negotiate a fair settlement. If you still feel dissatisfied, call your state insurance regulator.
From the Coach’s Corner, see these additional resources:
19 Tips to Protect Your Core Assets from a Disaster — Hurricane Katrina put us on notice how important disaster planning is. Is your business ready? Here’s a 19-point business-continuity plan.
5 Data Recovery Planning Tips for Computer Failures — Just a generation ago, risk management was a lot less complicated. Many businesses didn’t have to worry about hardware or software failures. Everything was processed manually. But in this digital age, business is severely disrupted if your system crashes and you haven’t backed up your information.
Planning an Event? Here are 25 Emergency Preparedness Tips — In order to successfully plan major events, it’s a great idea to consider taking 25 precautions, courtesy of Robert Grossman of Focus Creative Group, a communications consulting and development company.
Stage a Great Business Event with This Checklist of Tips — The details can be overwhelming in staging a major business event. You might want to hire a firm to help you. If not, you can do it yourself. Either way, communication and planning are vital for your success.
Best-Practices in Protecting Your Supply Chain from Natural Disasters — As a manufacturer, you know the importance of protecting your supply chain for your company’s future. So you might be interested in an academic study — lessons from the earthquake that resulted in a tsunamis and nuclear catastrophe in Japan.
When your dreams turn to dust, it’s time to vacuum.