Homeowners Insurance Claim Process During a Regional Disaster

August 19, 2020
mamoroneck ny home exterior - homeowners insurance claims process mamoroneck ny

Home insurance can be a bit mysterious for most people (unless you are an insurance geek like those of us at A J Benet).

You spend many hundreds, if not many thousands, of dollars each year to insure your home, yet claims rarely occur. When they do, it is difficult to know what to expect and what you need to do, unless you have read your policy, and who does that? Compounding this are the natural disasters that are becoming more frequent. These widespread events can stress the system.

Consider these two very similar damage situations:

  1. A local thunderstorm causes a tree on your property to fall onto your garage roof causing a hole in the roofing and subsequent water damage to the interior.
  2. A hurricane or nor’easter causes widespread damage over coastal areas of NY, NJ, and CT. Many trees are down on your property, falling on your house, pool, deck, and garage. 20% of the homes in the impact area have similar or worse damage. And power is out!

In situation #1 you are likely to get a call the same day from your assigned insurance adjuster, certainly no later than next day. Restoration companies and contractors will line up at your door to get the job. Ask Siri, Alexa, or Goggle Assistant to connect you with a company to remove the trees, and its done.

In my experience, insurance companies always live up to the obligations they have under your policy contact, but in situation #2, things may move a little slower, unless you take my #1 piece of advice for filing a homeowners insurance claim during a regional disaster:

#1 – Call our office to file your claim, instead of the insurance company directly.

We have two claims managers on staff, Donnie Orlando and Paul Catanzaro. In addition, all of our staff members have been cross trained in claims handling. We are here to help you. We want to share our experience and the local knowledge it takes to get you back to normal quickly.

#2 – If #1 is not possible, do not hesitate to call your insurance company directly to file your claim, but be sure to get in touch with us as well. For example, if you cannot reach us, call again the next day.

The sooner you report it, the sooner your insurer may be able to help. Putting us in the loop quickly helps us to understand your situation, make suggestion, and monitor progress.

#3 – Do not wait.

Insurance carriers will honor your claim, if the damage is from a covered peril, and the expense exceeds your deductible. It is the insurance company’s responsibility to pay your covered claim, but they do not take responsibility for making the actual repairs. Call contractors and restoration companies. Get scheduled for any service you may need. Take all reasonable steps to secure your home from further damage. Take photos and videos of damage, keep receipts from contractors. For ongoing repair of damage, your insurance carrier will likely have suggestions for contractors to help you, but you are free to use the contractor of your choosing. The contractor should be prepared to work with an insurance adjuster, and to provide a detail estimated for approval.

#4 – If you have a large claim, consider hiring a Public Adjuster.

The choice of a quality Public adjuster can make all the difference. The wrong Public Adjuster can be a disaster, call us for a recommendation. The idea behind this is, the insurance carrier has an adjuster, and you will need an advocate on your behalf, a public adjuster. They speak the same language. They negotiate and come to agreements, things get done quickly, the claim settlement amount is typically larger.

If you have any questions regarding the claim process, or other insurance matters, please reach out to us. We have been serving the community for 50+ years, and we are here to help you.

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