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Navigating Storm Damage Insurance Claims

In certain parts of the country, a whirlwind of different weather conditions can occur over a stretch of a few hours. A relatively warm and sunny morning can be overtaken by relentless rains that quickly are swept away by powerful winds, and the icing on the cake may involve early evening snow showers. Such a blend of weather overwhelms many people, forcing them to shift between jackets and short sleeves, wool hats and visors, as well as tennis shoes and galoshes, all the while dealing with the impact on physical and mental health. It can be, in a single simple word, exhausting. The ever-shifting weather is not limited to affecting people. Homes, and especially roofs, must adjust to the conditions as well. Oftentimes, the ice, rain, wind, and debris results in damage to the house’s protective covering. When this occurs, people often must utilize insurance to get the repairs needed to move forward; unfortunately, many people either do not know the process or are leery of calling their insurance carriers for fear of increased rates and/or insufficient service. Filing a storm damage claim with one’s insurance agency need not be cause for concern as long as individuals remain mindful of a few important points that Fusion Roofing and Restoration is happy to provide.

If damage occurs and is noticed, the first action a property owner should attend to is taking pictures. Photos taken as soon as possible after an event provides evidence that the storm occurred and that it affected one’s home or business. Also, if anything such as limbs or other debris needs to be moved, it is imperative that pictures are taken first to accurately show the damage prior to altering the scene. Also, anyone who does attempt to move debris should exercise quality judgment and extreme caution to avoid bodily harm. Another important initial step is to contact a trustworthy company such as Fusion to inform them of the situation so that they may send out a qualified inspector. As Fusion performs a multitude of duties, we capably inspect roofs, gutters, box gutters, siding, and insulation to determine any potential issues.  

The inspection should indicate the need to involve the owner’s insurance agency. At Fusion, as with any reputable firm, we also will have a discussion with the property owner concerning the conditions, the probable fixes that will be required, and, importantly for many people, the potential costs. This is an important aspect of the conversation as the property owner will benefit from knowing the approximate costs prior to communicating with the insurance company.

The next step is for the property owner to contact the insurance agency and file the claim. The insurance company will then set an appointment for an adjuster to visit the property, document the damage, and offer an approximate amount to be given for repairs, if any. During the assessment, the property owner should also have a contractor of his/her own choosing on hand to verify the adjuster’s findings. It might also be of great value for the owner to possess a copy of the insurance paperwork to be fully aware of policy outlines. Having such knowledge in conjunction with the contractor’s professional view can help protect the owner from a poor settlement, a figure that unbeknownst to many may be negotiated in order to reduce out-of-pocket expenses.

At the assessment’s conclusion, the adjuster will provide a detailed analysis of his/her findings. Fusion will gladly assist the property owner with any necessary explanations. If the owner is dissatisfied with the initial amount to be given, he/she can ask for another adjuster to be sent out for a second opinion. Once the initial offer is presented and is within an expected range, Fusion will work with the insurance agency to align the cost of repairs or replacement with the owner’s deductible and any related expenses. A potential related expense may be water damage that is not initially visible but becomes noticeable after days have passed. At Fusion, it is of great importance that owners be able to minimize or completely avoid paying for any damage out-of-pocket.

A common fear exists amongst property owners that insurance claims are something to be avoided at all costs due to potentially increased rates or lack of service. This fear may be essentially the result of being unaware of the process of filing a claim. Fortunately, there are companies like Fusion that are able, willing, and enjoy assisting property owners to return to normalcy, to regain a sense of safety and security in their homes and businesses.

 

*Some important sites to access*

https://www.insurance.ohio.gov/Consumer/OCS/CompleteGuides/CompleteHomeGuide.pdf

www.ohioinsurance.org

**Also, it is important to remember that policies vary, so policy owners need to be aware of what their policies contain**

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