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Insurance Company Claims: What to Do After a Disaster

Insurance Company Claims: What to Do After a Disaster


By: Oana Schneider

Insurance Company Claims: What to Do After a Disaster

Your BBB® has learned that Indiana Department of Insurance shared a few tips regarding the claim process that follows a disaster. If you are going through a similar situation, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Right after the disaster

Before you start cleaning up the place, make sure to document any type of loss: take photos of every damaged item in your household, try to find receipts for your electronics, in case they’ve been affected and don’t throw away any of the damaged items so that the insurance agent can take a look at them.

Once you are done with this step, it is your responsibility to make sure the damage won’t spread, so make temporary repairs – you can do it yourself or hire a professional. Most of the times, the insurance company will cover these temporary repairs and they will sometimes even cover the cost of your lodging if you need to find a place to stay or have to store your possessions. Remember: keep all the receipts!

How to start a claim

Try to contact your insurance agent as soon as possible, as many insurance companies have a time requirement for this type of actions. When contacting the insurance company, make sure you have the right insurance information, current contact information and your disaster inventory on hand. If your vehicles have been destroyed in the disaster, you will need to file a separate claim with your auto insurance company.

What happens after I file a claim?

Once you’ve filed your claim, the insurance company will send a claims adjuster to your home to assess the situation at no cost to you. You can request a public adjuster, but you will have to pay a fee. The adjuster will take a look at both the interior and the exterior of the house.

Once this analysis is completed, all the information will be sent to the insurance company which will determine your claims settlement. Sometimes, people receive more than one check from their insurance companies: the first one might be an emergency advance.

If there is a mortgage on your home, the insurance company might send the money to you and the lender. Lenders usually decide to put the money into an escrow account and use it to pay for repairs as the work is completed.

Use the money to hire a professional (check for a licensed and trustworthy contractor), but don’t pay in full upfront: pay a small amount when signing the contract and the rest once the work is done.

If you’d like to be prepared for potential disaster, you can download the Disaster Prep Guides on floods, tornadoes and earthquakes.

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Oana Schneider is our Director of Media Services. She writes consumer and business oriented articles and is in charge of our community outreach program.