How to Prepare for an Adjuster's Visit
What to Do in Advance of an Insurance Adjuster Visit
If you've suffered a loss due to fire, vandalism, or storm damage, you may be wondering what the adjuster will do when he or she arrives at your house. Here are some tips for making sure that your home is ready for an adjuster's visit.
Know What Type of Policy You Have
The first step in preparing for an adjuster's visit is knowing what type of policy you have. There are several different types and each one has its own set of benefits, so it's important to know what exactly you're covered for.
There are two main types of policies: named peril and all risk. Named peril policies cover specific incidents like fire, windstorm, or hail damage, but won't cover a loss such as theft or vandalism if those incidents aren't specifically listed on your policy. All risk policies don't list out specific incidents that are excluded from coverage; instead, they only exclude certain perils (types of losses). These perils tend to be things like earthquakes or floods — the rarest and most catastrophic kinds of losses that might be excluded from some other kinds of insurance policies.
Take an Inventory of Damages
You'll want to start your preparation by creating an inventory of damaged items. Take photos of each item or make sketches if you're more comfortable with that. If there are receipts for replacement items, keep them on hand. You may also want to keep receipts for any repairs you need to make because of the damage and deduct those costs from your claim if possible.
You should also consider keeping receipts for anything else related to the claim; this could include furniture rental while your home is being repaired, hotel nights when damage occurred during a trip away from home, cleaning services after water intrusion into your house and more.
Set Aside Damaged Property
Make sure your damaged property is in a safe place.
Keep it out of reach of children and pets.
Don't throw out anything until you know what the insurance company wants done with it.
Take Photographs of Damages and Repairs
Take photos of the damage.
Take photos of the repairs.
Keep receipts for any repairs you make and take a picture of them. Make sure to take pictures of these receipts in case there is an issue with your claims later.
Always get contact information from the contractor who made repairs to your home so that they can be contacted by an adjuster if necessary.
Gather Receipts for Emergency Home Repairs and Replacements
When an insurance adjuster arrives at your home, you'll want to be prepared with receipts if necessary. If your home was damaged by the flood, it's a good idea to keep receipts for all emergency repairs and replacements that are over $500. You may want to keep these receipts in a separate file so they're easy to find when you need them—and remember that it's better to have too many than not enough!
Make Copies of all the Paperwork You Send To Your Insurer
Make copies of all the paperwork you send to your insurer. Keeping a copy for yourself is a good idea, but it's not enough. You'll also want to keep copies for your attorney, if applicable; they might need them later if they're working with you on a case against the insurance company. Finally, make sure that there's at least one more copy of each piece of paperwork that goes out: one copy should go directly into your file, and another should be sent to the adjuster who handles claims related to this incident.
This last step is especially important when dealing with an insurance adjuster because they will likely be using this information in their investigation into whether you're eligible for compensation after an accident or injury—and they'll have access only to what you give them! Make sure there are no holes in your file so that nothing slips through the cracks during this process and ends up costing you thousands.
Get a Repair Estimate from a Contractor or Repair Person
The first thing you should do is get a repair estimate from a contractor or repair person. It's important to get an independent estimate, so don't use a friend or family member to do the repairs. It's also not advisable to use the contractor recommended by your insurance company; this tends to be more expensive because the companies have relationships with certain contractors and may benefit from recommending them over others.
Once you've gotten two estimates for all your damages, compare them side by side and make sure there aren't any discrepancies between them. You can also ask questions about anything you don't understand — for example, how long it will take for each contractor to complete their work or what materials they're using in their repairs (this can affect pricing).
The more your insurer knows about the damages, the better they can assess your claim. Be sure to have a working knowledge of your insurance policy to minimize stress in the event of a disaster.