What to Do After a Loss
Make temporary repairs.
Protect the property from further damage, including "reasonable and
necessary repairs." Make temporary repairs to further weather related
damage. Cover holes in the roof, walls, doors and windows with plastic
or boards. Be careful not to risk your own safety in making the repairs.
Save receipts for any material you buy. Your insurance company will
reimburse you for the reasonable and necessary cost when coverage has
Beware of building contractors that encourage you to spend a lot of
money on temporary repairs. Remember that payments for temporary repairs
are part of the total settlement. If you pay a contractor a large sum
for a temporary repair job, you may not have enough money for permanent
Don't make extensive permanent repairs until after the claims adjuster
has been to your home and assessed the damage.
Avoid using electrical appliances, including stereos and television
sets, that have been exposed to water unless they've been checked by a
Notify the police in the event of a theft
loss or the fire department in the event of a fire loss.
Call your insurance agent or insurance
Report the damage to your insurance agent or insurance company
representative. The John J Prudente Agency has experienced claim
professionals who will assist you in your claim process. Ask questions
such as: Am I covered? Does my claim exceed my deductible? (Your
deductible is the amount of loss you agree to pay yourself when you buy
a policy.) How long will it take to process my claim? Will I need to
obtain estimates for repairs to structural damage?
Save receipts for additional living
Most homeowners policies cover additional living expenses such as food
and housing costs, telephone or utility installation costs in a
temporary residence, extra transportation costs to and from work or
school, relocation and storage expenses and furniture rental for a
temporary residence. Your insurance company will usually advance you
money for these expenses. The payments will be part of the final claim
settlement. Let your insurance company know where you can be reached so
that the claims adjuster can contact you and advance money if needed.
Preparing for the adjuster's visit.
The claims process may begin in one of two ways.
1. Your insurance company may send you a claim form, known as a "proof
of loss form," to complete or...
2. An adjuster may visit your home first, before you're asked to fill
out any forms. (An adjuster is a person professionally trained to assess
the damage.) Usually, the more information you have about your damaged
home and belongings the faster your claim can be settled.
Major disasters make enormous demands on insurance company personnel.
Your adjuster generally will come prepared to do a thorough and complete
study of the damage to your home. However, the large number of claims
may place time restrictions on adjusters forcing them to "scope the
loss." If your adjuster doesn't make a complete evaluation of the loss
on the first visit, try to set up an appointment for a second visit.
Be sure to keep copies of lists and other documents you submit to your
insurance company. Also keep copies of whatever paperwork your insurance
company gives you.
Make lists of the damaged items.
Include the brand names and model numbers of appliances and electronic
equipment. If possible, take photographs of the damage. Don't forget to
list such items as clothing, sports equipment, tools, china, linens,
outside furniture, holiday decorations and hobby materials.
Use your home inventory or put together a
set of records - old receipts, bills and photographs- to help establish
the price and age of everything that needs to be replaced or repaired.
If your property was destroyed or you no
longer have any records, you will have to work from memory.
Try to picture the contents of every room and then write a description
of what was there. Try also to remember where and when you bought each
piece and about how much you paid.
Don't throw out damaged furniture and
other expensive items because the adjuster will want to see them.
Structure of Your Home
Identify the structural damage to your
home and other buildings on your premises, like a garage, toolshed or
in-ground swimming pool.
Make a list of everything you would like
to show the adjuster when he or she arrives.
This should include cracks in the walls, damage to the floor or ceiling
and missing roof tiles. If structural damage is likely even though you
can't see any signs of it, discuss this with your adjuster. In some
cases, the adjuster may recommend hiring a licensed engineer or
architect to inspect the property.
Have the electrical system checked.
Most insurance companies pay for such inspections.
Get written bids from reliable, licensed
contractors on the repair work.
The bids should include details of the materials to be used and prices
on a line-by-line basis.