“I’ve got insurance, everything will be fine…”
If you’re reading this you probably need help with an insurance claim. These claims are not like vehicle fender bender claims, they can be complex and protracted if not handled properly from the beginning. Often claims are hundreds of thousands of dollars, accommodation bills while you are out of your home can be over six figures alone.
There will likely be moving and storage expenses, mold remediation, state mandated mold testing and reporting, complex estimating and pricing requirements, insurance appointed construction consultants who act against you, subrogation of claims between parties, the list goes on and the goal is to get you back into your home as soon as possible.
If there is one thing I would like you to take away from reading this, it is get professional advice immediately you discover damage, from at least one of these sources:
- Your broker
- Contractor experienced with insurance claims
- Independent public adjuster
Alignment & Understanding each parties’ motivations:
- Insurance companies make money by charging premiums not by paying claims. There is very little public accountability if insurance companies are not acting swiftly and effectively.
- Individual brokers may or may not have practical knowledge of the claims process, they are trained in the laws and rules around selling insurance, not the complexities of re-construction. A good brokerage firm will have an expert in this field on their team and they will be a valuable ally during the claims process.
- Construction companies make money doing construction work in the shortest possible time frame, we are publicly rated on sites like Google, Yelp and Houzz by the quality of our work and our communication skills, and deal with insurance companies on a daily basis. Because of this, we are often the most qualified to guide your through the correct order of events and how to apply pressure to insurance companies to settle your claim to its fullest extent and in your interests.
Here’s what you need to know:
Ideally, your first call should be to your broker, not necessarily your carrier (insurance company), they will alert your carrier to the claim and talk you through the process, your coverage limits and first steps.
Your insurance broker is here to help you! Brokers earn part of your premium each year to be available to answer all your questions; if they don’t, can’t or won’t, escalate this through your brokerage until you get what you need.
Your next call should be to a reputable construction company with extensive claims experience. West Village GC can help you with:
- Independent Public Adjuster if needed
- Remediation company to deal with the initial damage and containment
- Moving; temperature & humidity controlled storage
- Full photographic inventory of all your belongings so everything goes back exactly where it belongs
- Specialist art and piano handling
- Reputable short-term rental and real-estate experts
- Construction estimation and negotiations with the insurance company
Typical questions we get asked:
- My building or neighbor leaked into my apartment, who’s insurance covers what?
- How long should the claim process take?
- What is my coverage for housing during the process, and what sort of accommodation can I expect?
- How does my insurance company decide what is a reasonable settlement?
- Are there channels to argue the settlement amount if the estimates I get exceed the amount my insurance company thinks my claim is worth?
- Am I agreeing to a settlement if I cash the insurance check?
- How do I know when this is the best deal I am likely to get?
- What if more damage is found once works start and I have cashed the check?
- What to do if the parties involved are dragging their feet?
- When do I call in a Public Adjuster to represent me?
Your broker probably won’t know how much repairs should cost, or if offers from the various insurance companies are reasonable. This is where a relationship with an experienced General Contractor is important.
Remediation companies are the First Responders to an incident, they specialize in cleanup after a fire or flood are licensed to remove mold and other hazardous materials.
Which moving company?
Choosing a good moving company is important, these costs will be covered by your policy. Don’t cheap out here, your home should be photographed and inventoried by the moving company before moving to make sure every item is put back in its exact location and no additional damage occurs.
We have relationships with the most reputable moving companies in the city and will oversee this process for you from beginning to end, you shouldn’t have to lift a finger.
- Deliver necessary items to your new accommodation, various locations or storage.
- Humidity and temperature controlled storage
- Specialists art and piano handling
- Full photographic and written inventory to make sure everything is put back exactly, to the last detail.
Your insurance company will likely have an accommodation limit on your policy, ask your insurance agent what this is. Most insurance companies will rehouse you in comparable accommodation for the duration of your claim. We can help you understand how to approach this and what is reasonable to expect.
Negotiating with your Insurance Company
West Village GC will help you negotiate the right amount for your claim, insurance companies base claims on national averages, these numbers are generally not in line with NYC construction costs, we can help you negotiate this and guide you through the process.
- Once you have your move and storage sorted out, your accommodation all set and a check to cover the damages in hand, you have probably learned a great deal more about insurance claims and construction that you never wanted to know. If you have chosen the right team, the construction phase will go smoothly and you will be back in your home on a predetermined date sometime in the near future with everything replaced and as good as new.
If you need more info, you can download our Insurance Claim Checklist here.
Also, feel free to contact us.
With almost 20 years experience answering insurance questions and assisting clients with both simple and complex claims, we are excited to successfully guide you through the process.