Even savvy California businesses can run into problems dealing with the complications of the insurance claim process. What is a public adjuster? A claims adjuster? How can you accelerate your insurance claim and get the maximum amount you might be entitled to?
No one ever said insurance was simple. Luckily, there are many useful guidelines that apply to a broad range of situations.
Let’s look at some of the top insurance claim tips for California businesses:
Take Photos of All Damage
The most important thing you can do to advance any insurance claim is make sure you have lots of documentation of your damages. Visual evidence is a powerful resource in your favor. Ideally, photos should be taken from multiple angles, in sufficient lighting, and include time stamps.
Do Not Begin Cleanup
In many cases, you should not do anything to clean up the damage until an insurance adjuster has had the opportunity to review the scene. One caveat: Many policies include a duty to prevent further damage – for example, by putting up a tarp if there’s a hole in your office roof.
Review Your Policy Thoroughly
Knowing what your policy covers and doesn’t will go a long way toward helping you take the right steps. If you don’t have a hard copy of your policy, now’s the time to ensure one is safely filed away. Review it so it is fresh in your mind before talking to an adjuster.
Let Your Insurance Company Know
It may take a few days to actually file a claim, especially if you’ve been left without essential business equipment or documentation. Even so, you should contact your insurer immediately and let them know that you intend to file a claim.
File Your Claim Promptly
The sooner you file your claim, the better. If a filing is delayed, it gives insurance agencies the opportunity to claim that existing damage is not connected with the insured event. In general, it is best to have your claim in order after no more than five business days.
Do Not Remove Damaged Property
For many businesses, an active insurance case means the office is completely off limits. Just as you shouldn’t begin cleaning up, you also shouldn’t remove objects, even if they are damaged or appear to be “totaled.” In the best case scenario, everything can be left exactly as-is.
Get Independent Estimates for Repair Work
Although insurers can and often do recommend specific contractors, they can’t usually demand that you use one company or another. Get multiple independent estimates from licensed and insured contractors so you can make an informed choice and get quality work done.
Oversee All Repairs
Once you have authorization to begin repairs, keep a close eye on everything that takes place. Archive all receipts. Closely scrutinize all paperwork from contractors and do not proceed until you receive written approval from your insurer.
Don’t Sign Away Your Rights
Throughout the claims process, you’ll run into many pitfalls where you might end up yielding your rights in one way or another. Always maintain control of your insurance payment and how it gets used. Remember: Insurance agents may be friendly, but they are not your friends!
Ask for an Advance Payment
There may be areas of dispute in any complex claim, but some issues should be “cut and dry.” You have the right to ask for advance payment on elements of your claim that aren’t in dispute. This way, you can get repairs underway and avoid paying out of pocket when you don’t need to.
The Biggest Tip of All: Get Representation for Your Claim You Can Trust
Paramount Adjusters is an enterprise entirely dedicated to representing your interests – not those of your insurance company. We are public adjusters, meaning we can legally represent you during your claims process and have no affiliation with any insurance firm.
From beginning to end, we’ll help you to secure the funds you may be entitled to as a result of your claim. Contact us for personalized advice including fire damage, flood damage, and storm damage insurance claim tips. We’ll be glad to perform a free, no-obligation inspection and claim review.
Featured image: Chones/Shutterstock