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Guardian Adjusting Blog
Tips and information on all types of property damage claims.


Storm Season Tips

Rick Tapanes - Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What To Do After a Storm!

While your first instinct following a disaster may be to start cleaning up, it is important for your insurer to have an accurate account of the destruction. Before moving any debris or removing damaged belongings, make sure to take photos or video of the damage. Make a list to document your losses. If possible, save damaged items for your before contacting Guardian Adjusting Services. You must also take reasonable steps to avoid further damage to your home. It is your legal obligation to do so.

Even following a major disaster, most insurance companies have a time requirement for filing a claim. When calling Guardian Adjusting Services to report the loss, have your policy information handy, along with current contact information and your home inventory, if you have one. Speak with your Public Adjuster about claim-filing deadlines.

A homeowners policy only covers damage to your home and its contents, and a renters policy only covers belongings. If your car is damaged, a separate claim will need to be filed with your Public Adjuster.

A typical homeowners or renters policy does not cover flood damage. If you have a policy with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), your Public Adjuster will file a claim for that policy as well. Damage from a storm surge is considered flood damage

Public Adjusters work for you, the insured, not the insurance company. They are paid from the proceeds of your claims settlement, typically as a percentage of the total amount you receive. Not all states allow public adjusters, Florida being a state that allows, they must be licensed by the Florida Department of Financial Services. Before engaging a Public Adjuster, be sure they are licensed and ask for references and qualifications. In addition, the adjuster should provide the fees for these services in writing. If you do not receive money you will owe nothing to the Public Adjuster. When you choose a Public Adjuster, if the claims settlement you get from your insurance company does not meet your expectation. The Public Adjuster will work with the company to try to negotiate a better settlement. (ALL PUBLIC ADJUSTERS WITH GUARDIAN ADJUSTING SERVICES ARE LICENSED & INSURED)

The Claims Process After you have filed your claim, the Public Adjuster will arrange with the insurance company to send a claims adjuster to your home to assess the damage. The company adjuster will want to see all the damaged items you have removed from the home and any photos or video you have of things you removed to make the home safe. Generally, the more information you can provide the adjuster about the loss, the faster the claim can be settled. At Guardian Adjusting Services our Public Adjusters walk you through each step and make it as painless and smooth as possible.

The company adjuster will walk through your home to look at the damage. If your home was damaged in a storm they may also want to look at the outside of your home, your roof or your basement.

The Public Adjuster will provide the documentation and their assessment of the loss to your insurance company to help determine your claims settlement.

If your insurance company is not responding promptly to your claim, your Public Adjuster will contact the insurance company and ask for answers. It is their duty to fight for your rights as a home owner.

When you hire a public adjuster, they will review your insurance policy and then go through the same process of documenting and assessing the loss to your home. This may include a builders quote of the cost to rebuild, and make sure it is rebuilt back to it's original condition.

Payment of the Claim The payment for the contents or personal property will be made out to you. However, if there is a mortgage on your home, the payment for structural damage may be payable to you and your mortgage holder.

If the contractor finds hidden damage that was not discovered in the original assessment, contact your Public Adjuster to resolve the difference. The adjuster and the contractor will meet at the house to review the newly discovered damage and present a revised estimate to the insurance company.

Even after you have settled your claim, if you think of items that were not in your initial loss list, contact your Public Adjuster. Often times it is possible to have additional items paid even after the first payout.

Guardian Adjusting Services offers FREE Hurricane Preparedness kits and inspections. Contact us today for yours.

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