Its storm season in Texas, again.
As I’ve stated before, here in Texas we experience just about every known weather catastrophe. We have been through dust storms, flooding, hailstorms, hurricanes, ice storms, tornadoes and wild fires.
You may not know when a catastrophe is going to strike but there are two things you can count on when it does 1. Property is going to be damaged and 2. The scam artist/crooks are going to crawl out of the woodwork to take advantage of you.
Every homeowner should know that their insurance deductible is their financial responsibility and this is the portion of their claim they must pay and that anyone who says different is trying to get them to commit insurance fraud. The best way to protect you and your family and prevent insurance fraud is by paying your deductible and hiring a reputable home improvement specialist who has been in business for 20 years or more.
Texas homeowners also know they can count on Inside Out Home Improvement the home improvement specialist and their insurance company to help repair, restore or replace their damaged property.
Here are a few steps every homeowner should take upon the aftermath of a catastrophe
1. Assess the damage and make temporary repairs as needed
Inspect your home for damage and if your car was parked outside check it for damage. It’s always a good idea to call Inside Out Home Improvement, the specialist, to inspect your home because they know what storm damage looks like and they will let you know whether you should make an insurance claim or not.
You should also have them make the necessary temporary repairs to prevent further damage to your home. A home improvement specialist who has experience dealing with insurance companies will be able to help you with your insurance claim and ensure you get reimbursed for the temporary repairs.
2. Making the repairs and/or replacement due to storm damage
Make a list and take photos of personal property that was damaged, destroyed or missing due to the storm damage. This is where the “before” photos you took will come in handy that’s why it’s a good idea to have them.
Do not, I repeat, Do NOT make any permanent repairs until your insurance adjuster has had a chance to evaluate and asses the damage and has given you the estimate to repair and/or replace your damaged property. The adjuster will look at your pictures, your list and the damaged property and your policy coverage to determine the dollar amount you should be compensated.
Most people may not realize that the insurance company is only obligated to pay the fair market value for your loss and the damages caused by the storm.
3. What to do if your home is a pile of rubble or should be condemned in the aftermath
The first thing you should do when you finally stop cursing god for sending the storm that destroyed your home is to call your insurance agent and/or company representative to discuss your new living arrangement. You’ll need to know about the reimbursement process for your temporary living expenses and if there’s a cap on your expenses and if so, how much?
Do yourself and everyone involved a favor by making sure your address is visible, if it’s not, put a sign with your address on it in the yard or paint your address on what’s left of your house. Notify your insurance agent, company representative; family, friends and neighbors about where you’ll be and the best way they should contact you.
4. What’s the time frame before you know what’s going on with your claim?
This process can take a while because the insurance company has 15 days after receiving your insurance claim to notify you if your claim has been accepted or rejected. However, it could take even longer if there are an abundance of weather related claims the insurance companies can be granted more time by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to process and notify you about your claim.
5. If you don’t agree with your insurance company and you have a claim dispute
This sounds about right. Several people feel their deductible is too high and their insurance company is just trying to rip em’ off. If you have a dispute most homeowners policies will allow for an appraisal process to settle your claim dispute.
This process is quicker and a better resolution then calling a shyster attorney (we’ve all seen those commercials). Now just read your policy and/or call your insurance agent to find out how this process works. Once everything is settled your insurance company will have 5 business days to send you your check.
6. Your insurance deductible is your financial responsibility
There are no short cuts or legal ways for a contractor (home improvement specialist, general contractor, roofing contractor, plumbing contractor, etc..) to absorb your insurance deductible. However, there are thousands of scam artist/crooks who commit this insurance fraud on a daily basis that’s why some homeowners don’t realize that it’s illegal and others don’t care.
Not to mention, insurance fraud is one of the biggest reasons insurance premiums go higher and higher every year.
7. The real objective of your insurance company
Most people believe that making money is the main objective of their insurance company but in reality their responsibility is to their policy holders and helping them put their lives back together after a disaster has disrupted it.
By following these steps your storm recovery will move along quicker. Also keep in mind that your insurance company isn’t a charity handing out money they are giving you this money so you can make the necessary repairs to your home and get your life back in order not to put money in your pocket.
You owe it to yourself and your family to hire a reputable home improvement specialist, such as Inside Out Home Improvement, who has been in business for over 20 years.