It happens to the best of us. A big storm or a big winter freeze can leave home owners wondering what to do when an unfortunate event causes damage to their home. Most home owners have insurance which can help to keep out of pocket expenses to a minimum. Do not be afraid to call your insurance company! However the process for filing and handling a claim can be confusing, which is why you should hire a professional to help you handle the claim and ensure that your home can be properly fixed (and within a reasonable amount of time!). Below is a step by step guide to filing a property damage claim:
1. Evaluate the damage- Before filing a claim you should ask yourself “is this worth filing a claim over?” Property damage can be as small as patching and painting a small spot on the wall to an entire basement flooding. Sometimes the cost for repairs can be less than your deductible so you will want to find out what exactly your deductible is. Never go into any situation that you feel is not safe! (i.e house fire)
2. Call a professional mitigation company- It may be a good idea to call a company to come out that handles damage claims on a regular basis. They will be able show you damages that you cannot see and give you a better idea of the cost associated with repairs. They may also be able to help you call your insurance company and help explain what has happened.
3. Call your insurance company- If you have a big, well known insurance company it is usually best to call their 24/7 call centers when filing a claim. Most big insurance companies have switched from having you call your agent to calling a call center. The call center will take all of the information and give you a claim number. Generally the claim rep will give you a call within 24-48 hours. Sometimes this process can take longer depending on if it is a catastrophic event (i.e hurricane, wild fires)
4. Have the mitigation company get started working-Most reputable water & fire restoration companies will get started working after you have signed a service agreement and filed a claim for the price of your deductible (this can vary depending on the situation) They will then submit all paperwork to the insurance company for review and payment. You never want to wait in an emergency situation because you can get secondary damage which your insurance company might not pay for. Remember, a mitigation companies job is to “mitigate” the situation, Rebuilding will be a different part of your claim.
5. Wait for your claim rep to examine the damage- You will want for your insurance companies claim rep to come into your home and examine the damage. Then your insurance company will generally give you an estimate based on their findings. Remember this is just an ESTIMATE! You will want to hire a reputable restoration company to help you with the paperwork on your claim to make sure you are getting ALL of the money your home is entitled to.
6. Have a reputable restoration company repair the damages to your home- Working with a reputable restoration company to rebuild your home can save you a lot of time and headaches. A good company will know how to get the appropriate amount of money from your insurance company and in many if not all cases will make your home look better than it did before it was damaged.
If you need any help with water & fire restoration in Chicago please do not hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-484-0402. We can help you through all aspects of your claim and always strive to give it our all and do the best we can for every single customer!