It has been previously discussed what to expect from an insurance adjuster’s visit and how to prepare accordingly. However, after the insurance adjuster has completed their assessment, what happens next?
A claim handler or representative will be assigned to your claim. For most questions or details, you will contact your claim’s handler directly, rather than your agent or broker. Your claim handler will walk you through each step of the process and make suggestions for vendors to use, provide you with contact information for companies, and detail how the process will move forward. If you have any issues with your claim handler or have additional items you would like to discuss, your agent or broker will be available to support you through the process.
Working with Your Claim Handler
When work is ready to commence, together with your claim’s handler, you will act as the project manager, selecting and scheduling vendors to complete the work. If you decide to use your insurance company’s suggested vendors, often times, your claim handler will contact the vendor directly to schedule the work; however, if your presence is required for specific portions, you may want to contact vendors directly to align schedules.
When work begins, the first step is to remove any salvageable items as documented by the adjuster. Any items that are deemed repairable will be sent for cleaning or restoration. Your insurance company will have restoration and cleaning companies they can suggest; however, if your prefer to find a different restoration company, or have a vendor in mind, you have the right to send your items to a vendor of your choosing.
After salvageable items have been sent for cleaning or repair, debris will need to be removed from the site. Again, your insurance company will have a list of vendors that they deal with extensively and will be able to arrange for a debris removal company to complete the work. If you have a vendor in mind that you wish to use in place of the insurance company’s suggested vendors, it is your right to hire the company of your choice.
After debris removal, reconstruction will begin: framers; electricians; plumbers; drywallers; painters; counter, flooring, and cabinet installers, etc. will all need to be selected and scheduled.
New Item Selection
Of course, as work commences a lot of questions will need to be answered. It’s unlikely that the exact flooring, countertops and cupboards you had previously will be available again. As such, you’ll need to make some style choices. The reconstruction cost of your home will include details such as what type of flooring, countertops and cupboards your home had; therefore, if you previously had engineered hardwood flooring and laminate countertops, like materials will need to be selected for replacement; however, colour and style choices will need to be determined. Among these choices, you’ll need to select paint colours and will need to shop for replacement furniture and appliances if applicable.
Remember to keep any and all receipts during the entire claims process; this includes invoices from vendors to receipts for all items, big and small; anything replaced will need to be documented from toothbrushes and clothing to furniture and bedding will need to be documented and corresponding receipts will need to be submitted. It is important to keep copies of all documentation for yourself, as well as a copy to submit to your claim handler.
Depending on the extent of the damage, the repair or rebuild can be a stressful and time-consuming process. Remember that your agent, broker, and claim handler fully understand the mental, emotional, and physical toll a loss can take on a person. If you have any questions, concerns or frustrations, call your agent, broker or claim handler to discuss the details and determine how to best handle any issues that may arise. Afterall, with any luck, this will be the first and last time you will experience a loss; however, your insurance team has been through these types of losses numerous times and are there to provide support and insights wherever possible.