- The more information you have about your possessions, the faster your claim can be settled. You should already have a complete inventory of the items in your home that includes a description of the item, model and serial numbers (if applicable) and its original cost.
- Make a list of damaged items and take photographs of the damage for records of each item, including old receipts or bills.
- Do not discard items - the adjuster will need to see everything to properly assess the damages.
- Identify the structural damage to your home and other buildings on your premises and make a list of everything you want to show the adjuster when they arrive. In some cases, the adjuster may recommend hiring a licensed engineer or architect to inspect the property.
- If possible, get written bids from reliable, licensed contractors for repair work. This may assist in adjusting the claim.
- Contact your insurance agent regarding your coverage and the need for flood insurance, if applicable.
- If your home was severely damaged, sections may require work be completed in accordance with current building codes. Some insurance companies offer an endorsement that pays for a specified amount toward such changes.
- Before a disaster occurs, acquire an “insurance checkup” to decipher what is and is not covered under your current policy as soon as possible to ensure your property is appropriately insured. Keep in mind that homeowners’ insurance policies usally do not cover flood damage but they do cover other kinds of water damage. For example, they would generally pay for damage from rain coming through a hole in the roof or a broken window as long as the hole was caused by a hurricane or other disaster covered by the policy. In most cases you need a separate flood insurance policy to cover flood damage from any rising water.
Do not be in a hurry to settle your claim. Although you may want to have your damage claim settled as quickly as possible, it is sometimes advisable to wait until all damage is discovered. Damages which have been overlooked in an early estimate may become apparent later. If you are dissatisfied with the settlement offer, talk things over with your agent and adjuster. Unresolved disputes or dissatisfaction with your insurance company should be reported to the Florida Insurance Commissioner’s Office.