It's imperative to correctly identify the type of claim associated with your property damage when filing a claim in order get the settlement you deserve. While a public adjuster can easily get you double (even quadruple) the payout, if you choose to complete the claims process on your own the information below is even more important in helping you tackle the situation effectively.
Claims related to water damage are some of the most common in the state of Florida and, as such, the insurance companies definitely don't want to give you the full value of your claim. Even worse, water damage can lead to long-term dangers like mold and thousands of dollars in additional damages.
If your home or business is hit by water damage, it's crucial to:
- Immediately notify your insurance company & take steps to mitigate the damages: Regardless of your policy, it is likely your coverage is contingent on these two things; failing to do so can jeopardize your claim rights and leave you dealing with the fallout on your own.
- Find the source of the water: This is important because not all types of water damage are covered, like rising water entering your property from outside is often excluded from policies, and other restriction may apply as well.
- Plus, identifying the source can help you to minimize potentially hazardous situations, such as toxic materials entering your air & ventilation systems.
A leak may not seem like a huge deal, but it can grow and cause unexpected long-term damage and health risks if not properly dealt with. Roof leaks are one of the most commonly seen insurance claims in terms of water damage, so it's important to get routine maintenance at least biannually to prevent & repair mold, rot & other unseen wear and tear.
If you discover a water leak:
- Shut off the water: It may seem obvious, but it's easy to forget in a stressful moment or if the leak seems small enough to be unimportant; turn the water off and then shut off your water valve to ensure the leak doesn't resume.
- Get your valuable items out of the area: Remove any and all valuable items that you don't want exposed to water damage.
- Remove excess water: Leaving water to sit and dry on its own can result in worse damages & negatively impact your insurance claim; do what you can to get standing water out and then open windows and set up some fans to get air circulating and dry the area faster.
Mold can develop within 24 hours after exposure to water and lead to dangerous health risks for you and your family, even if it's not visible. It generally smells sort of musty and earthy. It can cause a series of respiratory issues, skin irritation and affect your nervous system if left untreated.
To avoid these issues and many others:
- Prevent mold & mildew growth: The best way to treat mold is to not get it in the first place (obvious, right?); keep areas dry and don't let damp spaces stay that way.
- Increase ventilation & air circulation: Turn on bathroom fans, open windows, set up fans, prop open doors, cut on ceiling fans (and A/C if you can), anything to get the air flow circulating through damp areas in your home.
- Seal doorways and openings: Rainwater and other external leaks should be kept out of your home to stop mold from growing and give your building exterior time to dry.
Broken, Blocked & Burst Plumbing Lines
Bursting pipes are another common water-related insurance claim, especially in older buildings. They can takes weeks to repair and cost thousands of dollars, if not more. Why and where the pipe breaks is important to identify, as this will affect your insurance policy and the claim payout.
If a pipe breaks, you should:
- Shut off the main water valve at your home or business.
- Contact a reliable plumber: Even if it's covered by insurance, it's still ultimately up to you to repair the damages to your property, and the faster you can get a professional to fix it the better; keep a 24/7 plumber number on hand so you're ready for any surprises.
- Call your insurance company: make sure you've got your policy paperwork & number in hand, and be prepared to give all the details of the issue so they can tell you what the next steps will be.
- Get in touch with a public adjuster: In order to get your money as quickly as possible and ensure you get the best payout possible, speaking with a public adjuster is vital; call us to see about an on-site evaluation to expedite the process.
It's not uncommon for your insurance to deny claims related to wind damage or settle the claim for much less than the cost it takes to properly repair the damage. The insurance company will send a representative that may try to say that there is little-to-no damage or blame normal wear and tear for the damages to get out of paying you a fair amount.
In order to better your chances at getting a fair settlement, you should:
- Document the Damages: Take photos, videos, or both so you have visible evidence of damage; you should also make a list of the things that have been damaged.
- Leave repairs until after the insurance inspection: Moving debris or completing repairs before the insurance representative has recorded the damages can impact your chances of getting a fair settlement.
- Call a public adjuster, like BPA Inc., for an inspection: The earlier you call, the faster we can help get you the compensation you deserve.
If there's been a hailstorm in your area, it's possible that your property suffered hail damage, even if you can't see it. Your roof is particularly vulnerable as it takes the brunt of the storm and in Florida this type of damage is most frequently seen in the spring and fall months.
If you suspect you have hail damage:
- Document the Damages: If possible take both photos and videos of the hail damage; the more documentation you have the better.
- Call your insurance company for an inspection: It may take them a few days to be available and you want to have their representative document the damages as soon as possible.
- Prevent additional damage from the elements: Water damage, for example, often follows hail damage because a weak or broken roof can leak (or worse), so it's important to seal openings to stop more costly damages.
- Contact your public adjuster: We'll inspect the damage and review your policy to ensure you get a full payout to help cover damages to your property.
Hurricane season is nothing new to Florida residents, but whether you've been here less than a year or your entire life, hurricane damage to your residential or commercial property can cause stress for a multitude of reasons.
Rely on experienced public adjusters with years of experience in handling just that to guarantee you get a fair settlement to help pay for damages, whether it's a little damage or completely rebuilding your house.
Burglary & Vandalism
Burglary & vandalism are things we often like to think will never happen to us…until it does. We know it's already an incredibly stressful situation to come home and find that your belongings have been messed with, so it's important to contact a public adjuster as soon as possible to get help collecting evidence you need to get a full payout for your losses.
If you experience burglary or vandalism:
- Call 9-1-1: Report the instance immediately and alert the authorities.
- Make a list of stolen or damaged items: Take pictures (or videos) and write out a list of everything that is missing or damaged, even if it's something small you aren't concerned about at the time.
- Leave repairs & cleaning until after the insurance inspection: Altering the scene in any way can negatively affect your chances of getting a full settlement.
- Get your property secure: Makes sure that your windows, doors, and other possible entryways are closed and locked to protect against further issues.
- Start on the claims process: The faster you act, the better; call your insurance company first and then a public adjuster to help you look over your policy and better understand what happens next.
Are you experiencing a type of property damage not listed above? Don't worry! Contact us as BPA Inc.-more likely than not we will be able to work with you every step of the way to ensure you can the full payout you deserve!