If prescription medications are lost or destroyed, contact your doctor’s office.
What they need to process your claim.
What is covered under your policy.
When you should expect a call from your adjuster.
If your policy will reimburse you for additional living expenses if you have to stay at a hotel.
If there are any special processes or procedures you need to follow.
Working Through the Claims Process. Some valuable tips for consumers with making a property insurance claim after a storm include:
Prepare a detailed inventory of all damaged or destroyed property. Give one copy to the insurance adjuster and keep one copy for your files. Include a description and quantity of the item(s), date of purchase or approximate age, cost at the time of purchase and estimated replacement cost today. Include as much information as possible.
Be present when your insurance adjuster inspects your property. This will enable you to point out all areas you believe have been damaged.
If you think the insurance company’s estimate is too low, obtain an estimate from your own contractor. A contractor’s fee usually will be credited toward the cost of the repairs.
Even if your property is condemned by governmental authorities, your insurance company may decide it can be repaired. To protect yourself, be sure your insurance company’s adjuster has fully inspected the damage.
If your insurance company denies any part of your claim, be sure they put the denial in writing. Keep your paperwork. If the federal government declares your area to be a disaster, you may be eligible for federal relief.
If your home was destroyed and you decide to rebuild on another lot or purchase another home instead, check your policy and discuss your plans with your insurance carrier. There may be limitations on what your insurer will pay if you don’t rebuild on the same property.
The amount of your settlement won’t necessarily be the same as your neighbor’s. Your coverages, deductibles, limits and/or level of damage you sustained may be different.
Your insurance policy provides coverage for the repair or replacement of the property with "like kind and quality" that you had prior to the storm. It does not provide for expensive improvements or upgrades, such as installing a slate roof if, prior to the loss, your roof was a standard 3-tab shingle.
Do not accept an unfair settlement offer. If you can’t reach an agreement, call the insurance company and be prepared to explain why the offer is insufficient or unfair. If you are still not satisfied, contact your state department of insurance.
Don’t Goof When You Re-Roof®. When re-roofing, consider the benefits of home fortification. Fortifying a home or business can reduce the amount of damage sustained in a weather event and save thousands in repair costs. It could also allow the owner to avoid possible displacement during repairs. Here are some valuable tips for fortification:
Before repairs begin, contact a Fortified Evaluator and be sure that all contractors hold a Fortified Wise Professional designation. These are the only contractors certified to work to the Fortified Standard by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). Lists of Fortified Evaluators and certified contractors are can be found at www.disastersafety.org.
Obtain the licensing or credentials of all third-party vendors before signing any work agreements. Review all documentation and ask questions to make sure you understand the agreements you are signing. Ask specifically who is responsible for paying the vendor, you as the consumer, or your insurance company. Beware of out-of-state or fly-by-night repair companies. Hire only licensed and reputable vendors. To verify contractors are properly licensed and bonded, contact the Alabama Homebuilders Licensure Board at 1-800-304-0853.
If you’re considering the services of a public insurance adjuster, make sure you understand how much one charges as well as what services are included before signing any contract. Public insurance adjusters are not licensed or regulated in Alabama.
After repairs have been finished and a claim settlement is complete, keep all receipts for expenses related to damages to your home. The State of Alabama requires insurers to provide premium discounts for fortifying to IBHS FORTIFIED standards. File for your insurance discount with your insurance company after your mitigation work is complete and after receiving your Fortified certificate from IBHS. If you have difficulty obtaining the insurance discount, contact the ALDOI for assistance. For more information, to visit the Alabama Department of Insurance, Smart Home America or IBHS.
If you need property insurance, shop around and compare insurance. Get three quotes. For more information on shopping around for insurance, visit the Alabama Center for Insurance & Insurance Research (ACIIR) at https://culverhouse.ua.edu/aciir.