Secure Your Property and Board Up
According to your homeowner’s insurance policy, when your home is severely damaged by a fire, windstorm, tornado or other peril, one of the most important duties you’re required to do is to quickly act on emergency temporary home repairs by securing the property to prevent further damage. That means at minimum, you should tarp the roof, board up windows and any other openings that could lead to further damage of the structure, and secure the property against possible vandalism.
It’s important that these temporary repairs are done in a timely manner. If any preventable damage after the initial peril is found, your claim could be jeopardized. So, you need to act prudently.
This will likely require hiring an experienced contractor – but how do you know you’re hiring a reputable contractor if you’ve never had to before?
Your insurance adjuster may recommend a contractor but you are under no obligation to hire a contractor who may have a working relationship with the insurance company.
Solicit advice from family, friends, and neighbors who have had experience with both reputable and not-so-reputable firms. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau to find out which storm damage repair contractors have received the highest ratings.
If your damage is part of a larger catastrophe like a fire loss or tornado, beware of contractors going door-to-door trying to drum up business. There are usually several reputable contractors in your area who specialize in storm damage repair. You should not have to resort to a fly-by-night contractor operating out of the back of a pickup truck.
Get at least three written quotes from different contractors and compare them based on labor, time, warranty, and your other specifications for your emergency temporary home repairs. Verify that the storm damage repair company you choose has proper licensing and insurance.
Emergency Temporary Repair Costs: Part of Your Settlement
Once you’ve made your selection and it has been approved by your insurance adjuster, make sure the contractor provides you with a detailed written contract. Costs to perform emergency temporary home repairs are covered as part of the total insurance claim settlement, but you don’t want to pay too much for temporary repairs as it may deplete the total amount you’ll need for permanent repairs later. Also, note that debris removal should be included in the temporary repair estimate.
Remember, this is a requirement of the policy’s Duties After a Loss section. Failure to reasonable temporary repairs in a timely manner could jeopardize your claim. Hold off on any permanent fixes until your insurance claim goes through, or else your repairs may not wind up being covered.
Keep track of damages both for your records and for insurance purposes. Take photos or video of your home, vehicles, and other property.
Above all, don’t panic. When you’re in need of emergency temporary repairs or securing the property, try to stay calm so that you choose the right contractor and never sign on the dotted line unless you’re completely sure.
At Miller Public Adjusters, LLC, we are extremely experienced in dealing with contractors and can help you find a reputable one. We will also work with your insurance company to ensure you receive a fair claim settlement so you can restore your damaged property to how it was before the damage occurred. Call us toll-free at 800-958-4829 for a free review of your situation.
Experts Guide to Getting the Most Out of Your Property Insurance Claim
Don’t be confused with the insurance claim process. Understand what steps to take with this guide.