By John Voket, RISMedia Columnist
Like most homeowners, I share the opinion with many that insurance is one of the only things we pay for that we never want to use. But if or when you have to file a claim, a recent column from Becky Meier at the Pittsburgh Better Business Bureau provides some important advice.
Meier says taking a few immediate steps can significantly increase a property owner’s ability to obtain a quick settlement from an insurance carrier.
Meier outlines the steps homeowners should take if they need to file a claim.
-If possible, photograph the exterior and interior of the premises, showing the damage.
-Immediately call your insurance agent to report your claim. The agent will prepare a Notice of Loss form and an adjuster will be assigned to assist you.
-Separate the damaged from the undamaged property, and put it in the best possible order for the adjuster’s examination. If reasonably possible, protect the property from further damage.
-Good records of your insured property can be of significant assistance to you and your adjuster. Use your inventory to work with the adjuster in presenting your claim.
-Damaged property which presents a health hazard or which may hamper local clean-up operations should be disposed of. Just be sure to adequately describe discarded items so that when the adjuster examines your losses and your records, these articles are included in the documentation.
-Good records speed up settlement of your claim. Compile a room-by-room inventory of missing or damaged goods, and include manufacturer’s names, dates, place of purchase and price. Try to locate receipts or proofs of purchase, especially for major appliances, and note manufacturers’ names, serial numbers, prices and dates of purchase.
If you’re in the market for an insurance company, consider visiting bbb.org for a referral.