How To Manage the Insurance Claims Process After a Natural Disaster
In the unfortunate event that your property is affected by a natural disaster, the insurance claims process will be a large part of getting your rental home repaired. Because this process is so important, it can often seem equally overwhelming, but don’t let that intimidate you. When you follow the correct steps and pay close attention to the ongoing process, you can be confident you’ll get the most out of your insurance policy.
Once the repairs on your rental property are complete, you will be ready to welcome guests once again! For the best property management, browse our services, and find out all that Harris Vacation Rentals offers.
Step 1: Contact Your Insurance Provider and File a Claim
Contact your insurance provider and submit your claim as soon as possible. Like you, other property owners have likely been affected, often creating a backup of claims. Therefore, to avoid delays, you must file a claim as soon as you are able.
When you speak with your insurance provider, they will likely request details regarding water damage, fallen trees, broken windows, etc. Depending on the extent of your property’s damage, they may instruct you to take further action. For example, they may request pictures of the damage, or if there is any water damage, you may need to contact a water mitigation company.
After speaking with your provider, supplying the necessary details, and submitting your claim, you will receive a claim number. Be sure to note your claim number and keep it in a safe place, as you will need this throughout the claims process.
Step 2: Read and Understand the Property’s Insurance Policy
An essential part of the insurance claims process is reading and understanding precisely what your policy covers. If you do not have a copy of your policy, request one from your insurance provider. Read the policy carefully, understand what type of coverage you have. As you are reviewing your policy check for the following:
- Replacement cost vs. cash value of damaged items
- Wind damage coverage
- Coverage for damages to other structures
- Loss of rent
- Coverage for tree damage
Contact your provider if you have any questions regarding the extent of your policy’s coverage.
Step 3: Schedule an Insurance Adjuster Inspection
Once your claim has been processed, your insurance company will most likely send an insurance adjuster to inspect the damage and determine whether the insurance company is liable to cover your claim.
Before the inspection, refrain from discarding or removing any damaged items from the property. Instead, make a list and photograph everything that was damaged during the disaster. Additionally, plan for yourself or a representative to be present during the inspection.
At the time of inspection, be sure to supply the inspector with a list of the damages you have noted and point out any things they may miss.
Step 4: Obtain Damage Estimates
Upon the completion of the insurance adjuster’s inspection, request a copy of the estimate report from the adjuster. This report will outline what damages your insurance company will cover, and how much they estimate the work will cost. If you are unable to obtain a copy of the report from the adjuster, contact your insurance provider, and they should be able to supply the report.
When you receive the estimate report, review it carefully. If you disagree with the estimate provided, contact your insurance company, or consider hiring a public adjuster. A public adjuster works for you, not the insurance company, and they can help you negotiate anything the insurance company may have missed.
Once you reach an agreement with your insurance company, you can begin to contact builders. At this stage, contractors will visit your property to assess and quote the work that needs to be done. Be sure to shop around for the best quality, price, and service. Gather and review all the quotes you receive, and do not begin any work yet.
Step 5: Send Damage Quotes To Your Insurance Provider
At this point, you can send the quotes you have gathered to your insurance provider. Keep in mind that your provider may go with the cheapest quote if you present one. Be alert and stay away from any contractors whose prices may be too good to be true. If you receive a work estimate that doesn’t seem right, it may be in your best interest to exclude it.
Your insurance provider will review the quotes you have submitted and provide a payout for the damages covered under your policy.
Step 6: Begin the Repairs Process
Now you’re ready to choose a contractor and begin the rebuilding process. Keep in mind that your adjuster and mortgage company may recommend a contractor, but you get to make the final decision.
If you uncover further damage during repairs, photograph the damages and contact your insurance provider.
Step 7: Prepare the Property for Guests!
Congratulations! Your home is rebuilt, it is as beautiful as ever, and you’re ready to share the serenity of your vacation rental property with more visitors. At Harris Vacation Rentals, we are here to help reduce your stress, reduce your vacancy cycles, and maintain your property in tip-top shape.
Learn about our services and find out why our team is the best in the property management business.