More than likely, if you have never needed to file an insurance claim as a homeowner, then you are not familiar with the proper process—or even the first step to take. Unfortunately, because of this, when an incident happens or disaster strikes, the idea of filing a claim can be quite intimidating. But good news—it doesn’t have to be.
If you are like most policyholders, you probably have not read your policy in its entirety. While you should be familiar with it, we know that it may not be in your top 10 reads for 2019. Therefore, we have outlined some basic steps that are critical when filing an insurance claim.
As public adjusters in Pittsburgh, Pfister Adjusting, Inc., has guided a variety of clients through a wide range of insurance claims. It can be an overwhelming time for a homeowner, but if you take a deep breath and follow these steps, the claims adjustment process will seem more manageable.
1. Call a Public Adjuster – A public adjuster will make your claim run smoothly and simply for you by guiding and supporting you through the entire process. They will also help you get the best settlement for your damages. So literally, you are able to make one phone call, Pfister Adjusting will file your claim, process your claim, attend all inspections, then contact you with payments. During the entire process, you’re able to continue your daily schedule.
2. Photograph and Document – it is important to provide as much documentation, photographs and videos as possible, as this is part of the evidence for your claim. Any damage that you can photograph or document as soon as it occurs will benefit you in the long run. If you temporarily repair a damaged area and then decide to photograph it, you risk having your claim denied. It is also important to photograph the cause of damage, if possible. For instance, if your property was damaged by a fallen tree or hail, be sure to take a picture of the tree or the hailstones. The more documentation you have, the better.
3. Contact Insurance Company – after documenting the evidence and securing the area, you will need to contact the insurance company. Depending on the company, this may be done by phone, online or through an app. If you are interested in obtaining a public adjuster to help with your claim, now is the time to do so. Public adjusters, like Pfister Adjusting, Inc., in Pittsburgh, act as advocates for residential and commercial policyholders to ascertain how much an insurer should pay for a loss. Typically, there are no upfront costs and they only receive a payment if the claim is settled.
4. Review Your Policy – if you have not familiarized yourself with your insurance policy, now is the time to do so. Pay particular attention to the areas that relate to the event that has caused your property damage. Often, the writing of the policy can seem ambiguous. A public adjuster will help you to interpret your coverage.
5. File Needed Paperwork – after contacting your insurance company, they should provide you with the paperwork that needs to be completed. Be sure to complete in its entirety and to the best of your knowledge. The paperwork will play an important role in the outcome of your claim.
6. Consider Getting Your Own Estimate – it may be worth your while to contact a professional contractor to provide you with an estimate for repair. Insurance companies often use their own estimators to evaluate damage and repair costs. If you contact an independent estimator, you will have a good idea of the value of your claim.
7. Have Representation When Claims Adjuster Arrives – it is important to have someone present that represents you when the insurance company’s claims adjuster arrives. This is where a public adjuster, working on your behalf, comes in handy. They will ensure that everything is being properly inspected and evaluated.
8. Wait for Offer or Denial – depending on if all needed info has been gathered by the insurance company, this could be a short or rather long process. More info may need to be gathered before an offer or denial is presented to the policyholder. A public adjuster is extremely helpful to expedite the process.
9. Accept or Deny the Offer – once the insurance company has presented its findings, as a policyholder, you can accept or deny the offer. At this time, you can also negotiate your claim or dispute the findings. If using a public adjuster, they will negotiate for what is rightfully due to you. It can be a labor-intensive process that is best handled by an experienced public claims adjuster.
10. Insurance Payout – if the insurance company finds your damage to be legitimately covered, you will receive a check to be used to recover and repair damages.
Claims adjustments in Pittsburgh can easily be processed with a trusted and reputable public adjuster by your side. From loss caused by lightning, fire, water, tornado, hurricane, wind, frozen pipes, an appliance break, etc. Pfister Adjusting, Inc., works to get what is best for you. If you are in need of assistance with a claim, call us at 412-719-6200.