One way for home insurance agents to be able to build longstanding and trusting relationships with their customers is to be able to deliver sound advice on what to do in case the need to file a claim arises.
For example, the Insurance Information Institute (III) recently offered some tips on steps people can take to make any home insurance claims move more efficiently. The organization was doing this in response to an upswing in natural disasters such as the flooding in Texas and wildfires in Colorado, along with the usual hurricane activity in the Atlantic this time of year.
Agents can advise their clients to be ready to provide an accurate description of the damage and, in the event of an evacuation, to remember to give up-to-date contact information. Taking photos of the damage is often a particularly useful step for home insurance companies as well as their customers.
Also, homeowners who are victims of a natural disaster or other incident, such as a fire, are advised to make a detailed inventory of all property that has been lost or damaged.
The III maintains an online tool at KnowYourStuff.org that can make this process easier. Some items to include in this inventory of items include approximate date of purchase, the amount paid, and the value of the property in question. It’s also desirable to keep two copies of this information so it can be provided to the insurance adjuster when the time comes.
Insurance customers can also take similar steps before a disaster strikes by keeping an inventory of their covered valuables in a safe place – perhaps even in a location away from their home. It can also help insurance adjusters determine the value of lost property if customers keep receipts, cancelled checks and other such information.
One mistake that homeowners can make is to have extensive repairs performed on their property before an adjuster can actually inspect it. Instead, it’s far more advisable to make only temporary repairs in the aftermath of a disaster – primarily just to prevent further damage from being inflicted on the property through rain or other weather conditions.
While homeowners are strongly advised not to have permanent repairs done until an adjuster has been on the scene, it is beneficial to have reputable contractor provide a cost estimate for repairs. Providing such information to the adjuster can make a home insurance claim process run more smoothly.