With all the volatile weather we are having this summer, many more than normal will sustain damage to their property and as a result, be forced to open an insurance claim.
Once a claim is opened, the insurance company “claims adjuster” will call you to discuss the immediate action plan, if any, and to make an appointment to meet with you.
Even before you open a claim, your responsibility is to take steps to mitigate the loss. The insurance company will reimburse you for the costs to do this. Examples are: putting poly over the area of the roof where the shingles are now missing or turning off the tap of a burst water line. If in doubt call your insurance broker and if they cannot give you a definite answer then you should get permission from your adjuster. The adjuster is the one that has the authority on any decision.
If your policy provides replacement cost coverage, the insurance contract stipulates that the insurance company is to repair or replace (whichever is less) with new property of similar kind and quality in order to put you back into the position you were prior to the loss. This is normally what you would do as well, if you were to pay for all of the damages yourself. If you elect to do any upgrades, you would simply be responsible to pick up the cost difference.
Sometimes the adjuster may bring along a contractor to this first appointment. Some people have asked why the adjuster does this. For some it raises suspicion but, this is done to help survey the damages and to determine any interim repairs necessary. This also can help to speed up the “long term” decisions that need to be made. It is also important to note that this is not necessarily a friend of the adjusters that will be hired to do the repairs. The contractor is likely someone that the adjuster has developed a relationship with and trusts their professional judgement. This amounts to one persons professional opinion. You and the adjuster will likely be required to get a number of opinions depending on the size of the claim. The insurance company will require a number of estimates to make sure that they and you, are getting value for the dollar being spent. This contractor and others will be asked to provide quotes or estimates and then one will be chosen based on its merits.
Be sure to seek advice and purchase insurance from an insurance broker who understands your business!