Property claims: Steps for a favourable outcome

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Experiencing property damage can be a stressful and overwhelming situation. Knowing how to navigate the insurance claims process is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful resolution. In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide to help you take the most optimal actions after encountering property damage. By following these steps, you can increase the chances of a favorable outcome when filing an insurance claim.

Step 1: Assess the damage
Stop everything for a moment and take a moment to assess the extent of the property damage and the severity of the situation. If the situation is dangerous, your life comes first and it is of the utmost importance to get yourself out of danger as soon as possible and call for professional assistance.

Step 2: Document the damage
Insurers will ask for evidence of damage. Taking clear photographs and videos from various angles can serve as valuable evidence during the claims process. Note that there can be instances that damages can be mitigated and thus, the loss can be minimized. However, it is crucial to document the damage first.

Step 3: Report the incident
Notify the insurance company's claims department promptly or your insurance broker's claim department about the property damage. Send evidence of the damage and any information you may find relevant. Prompt and honest reporting can expedite the claim process. If you have your policy through a broker, they can help review your policy (but reviewing your policy yourself can do no harm) and coordinate with insurers while having your best interests at heart. Please note that there may be follow up questions and communicating openly and full cooperation is highly advocated. Working with a broker will allow you to ease your emotional and financial strain, with continuous updates and guidance.

Step 4: Minimize loss
Take reasonable steps to prevent further damage to your property. This may include doing things like boarding up windows, tarping your roof or cleaning up non-hazardous spills and debris. This is typically relevant with water leakages. Water leakages are very prevalent in home insurance claims. Generally, should it be considered safe,to do so, shutting off the source of water supply is recommended. However, any repairs should only be done as temporary in order to have an optimal claim. As materials can get wet, such as carpet, it can lead to long-lasting damage, so removing it to dry is therefore admissible. Stocks can also lose value when it gets wet; hence moving out of harm's way may minimize the dent on its value. With fire, smoke and electrical damages, utilizing professional services may be advisable.

Step 5: Obtain repair estimates 

Obtaining repair estimates is important to understand the cost of damages. Should you feel the need to do so,you can obtain multiple repair estimates. These repair estimates are for permanent repairs and can only be worked on after a joint inspection.

Step 6: Joint inspection
Generally, a joint inspection is needed to determine the claim pay out. This is where contractors, insurers, claim adjusters and brokers are present to administer the damages. Having a broker present can help advocate for optimal and plausible compensation.

Step 7: Claim conclusion
Once a decision is made, you can be assured to be updated on the amount of compensation from the insurer. Depending on the severity of the loss, the final decision may take some time; however, brokers can assist with expediting the pay out.

It is important to understand that certain actions and decisions after a claim can impact the amount of settlement. Documenting as much as possible and being transparent with the claim personnel can provide a higher chance of a favourable outcome. Furthermore, as brokers understand the emotional and financial pain after a claim, your anxiety can be eased knowing that there is someone working on your behalf.

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