You never know when disaster will strike. What makes the difference in your final outcome is how you handle it from the beginning. Express Emergency Services offers some valuable tips on how to handle any emergency related to flood, fire, mold or disaster.
Call your insurance company to make a claim immediately. While it doesn’t hurt to contact your insurance agent, new regulations say you must call the insurance company directly and then to follow up with a letter notifying the company of your loss. Make sure to have your letter certified at the post office and request proof of delivery to ensure your claim gets recorded properly. Keeping a paper trail is crucial to ensuring your claim gets process properly, especially after a big storm when thousands of homeowners and business owners are making claims.
Call Express Emergency Services next. Our administrative staff and technicians have years of experience in dealing with insurance claims and know exactly what information to provide to the insurance company and which departments to deal with to get your claim expedited. Our goal is to ensure you never have to pay for anything more than your deductible.
Hunt down all your insurance policies – homeowners, wind and flood policies, even auto and health coverage. Some policies include overlapping coverage. It is especially important to familiarize yourself with the section of your homeowners policy entitled “Duties After a Loss” so you know which actions the insurance company expects you to take.
Document, Document, Document. If it is safe to enter your property, start taking pictures and making an inventory of your belongings including models numbers, serial numbers or at least approximate date of purchase for appliances, electronics, furniture, home improvement projects and other belongings. Also, search for pictures of your home or business before the damage was done. As part of your paper trail, collect cancelled checks, invoices and appraisals for anything related to your damages, even for things like plywood or tarps.
If your damage is flood related, remember to contact your flood insurance agent (your flood insurance may not be attached to your regular homeowner’s policy) and be very careful about entering the premises in case of a falling ceiling or beam or even when turning on lights/electronics. If you can, air out the house to avoid or remove odors and gases.
If your damage is fire related, be very careful about entering the premises in case of a falling ceiling or beam or even when turning on lights which could cause another fire. If your damage is flood related, be careful about turning on electrical appliances to avoid electrocution or a fire.
Do not dispose of content that is not salvageable until after the adjuster has visited your property. However, you should begin to salvage what you can – drying out wood furniture, water extraction and carpet cleaning, dry cleaning, etc. Just remember to save all your receipts.
Let Express Emergency Services begin the effort to mitigate any further damage to your home. This includes emergency board up, water or smoke extraction, laying tarps over a damaged roof, removal and cleaning of furniture or other possessions, storage of your furniture while the restoration process is underway, etc. We will also begin a thorough inspection of your home or business. We’ll review your insurance coverage. We will construct a detailed, itemized list of damages and repair costs. This is the most crucial part of the restoration process. When an insurance adjuster sees all of these important details have been covered, they are more likely to approve your claim right away if you have hired a reliable restoration contractor.
Express Emergency Services works directly with your insurance adjuster on your behalf. This includes assisting with all paper work, on-going communications and negotiating the maximum allowed settlement.
Consider moving out during the restoration process for safety reasons and to avoid health issues caused by smoke or mold. Your insurance should cover this but it is important to verify what kind of allowance you can expect before you check into a five star resort and spa for a month!
Also, consider remodeling. It may be a perfect time to tackle any remodeling projects you have had in mind for a while, especially bath and kitchen.
Continue to be on the lookout for damage even after your restoration is complete. Even many weeks after a major storm, unpredictable sinkholes or foundation shifts can occur. Report this immediately to your insurance company and Express Emergency Services. We will be on hand immediately to help you.