As we discussed last week, we are going to take you through the necessary steps WHEN YOU HAVE A PROBLEM!
A property disaster can take many, many forms – fire, water, storm/wind, mold, vandalism, trauma, etc. – each will be addressed in the upcoming weeks. However, there are a few basic things to keep in mind, no matter what happens.
Remember, you are responsible for mitigating your damage. Insurance companies frown upon a broken water pipe where there was an opportunity to turn off the water and it wasn’t done. Same with a fire and the front door has not been boarded up to prevent additional vandalism, etc. If a tree goes through your roof, you need to have a tarp placed over the damaged area to prevent additional water damage inside.
It is recommended that you call your insurance agent or a qualified emergency services contractor as soon as possible. A good agent will listen to your story and give you an idea of how to proceed. In some instances, your deductible may come close to the amount of damage you have incurred. If this is the case, you probably do NOT want to file a claim. This all depends upon your personal financial threshold – if a claim is $1,500.00 and you have a $1,000.00 deductible, can you handle the difference? Bear in mind, you may not be able to reach your agent on the weekend or the middle of the night. As a company, we are generally opposed to the 1-800 numbers as your claim will be automatically placed in the system. However, there is a resolution to this problem. As we promote ourselves, 1st Aide Restoration (or another qualified contractor) is available 24/7 on an emergency basis. Just call for information or help and we or a reputable contractor will either come to your rescue or point you in the right direction. We will normally make a free visit during normal hours to help determine if you need to file a claim and will work with your agent and insurance company to reduce as much red tape as possible.
The most important information we can relay to you, however, is IT IS YOUR CHOICE TO DETERMINE WHO HELPS YOU. Yes, we are going there…many insurance companies have set up contractor programs and will refer you to one of their “preferred” contractors.
● Some of the larger restoration companies have a national contract with the insurance companies and the local franchise owners just may not be that good.
● We believe this is a conflict of interest for both the insurance company and the contractor.
● With a program, it is in the contractor’s best interest to satisfy the insurance company – NOT YOU.
● A good agent will refer or suggest approximately 3 contractor names – YOU MAKE A CHOICE. We have chosen not to pursue programs for this very reason and have decided to let our credentials and experience speak for themselves.
● Please be aware of contractors who show up unsolicited as a result of chasing fire trucks or listening to scanners. They can be VERY pushy.
● Check out your Better Business Bureau for reputable contractors and the contractor’s website for further information.
● You are the customer and YOU have to be happy. There are just too many chances for things to go wrong when you do not have an independent advocate on your side.
If the problem happens, call us – we can help.
Next week, we will begin examining each type of problem and guide you through the process with more information.