The stereotype of dealing with insurance claims being arduous, exhausting, and drawn-out is incredibly prevalent for a reason. When disaster strikes and you have to handle filing claims, finding the right folks to help, getting the actual work done, and finishing the process, it’s nice to know how long it might take, so you can be prepared in case of temporary relocation, restoration schedules, and for financial reasons. This post is meant to help you understand the process a little more clearly, including potential timelines for insurance negotiations, filing claims, having money disbursed for your property, and the contract work being completed and billed for.
We at NLCS know how difficult this process is, and we have an intimate understanding of the process and what needs to be done in order for your home to be properly restored in a reasonable amount of time. While we hope disaster never affects your home or family, we are here if and when it does, to help you with the entire process.
Options for insurance claim filing: There are a few different ways to go about filing an insurance claim on your property. Depending on how you choose to file, the process could take more or less time, and outcomes could be different. We’ll describe some of the main ways to file below.
- Filing with your insurance directly
- Obviously, you can file directly with your insurance following the loss. Contact your insurance company to file, and fill out any and all necessary forms to get the process started. Some of this timeline is on you, after all! If you are prompt in completing what needs to be completed in terms of paperwork, this will allow your insurance adjuster to continue the process on their end. Often, you will need to find your own contractors, but insurance providers can make suggestions.
- Filing through a claim specialist
- If you go through a claim specialist company or individual, they can help file the claim for you through your insurance. These claim specialists can also do negotiations on claims in order to get you the highest return possible, and explain your policy and what it covers with clarity, honesty, and compassion. Many claim specialists are connected to either insurance companies or general contractors, so they know the ins and outs of the claim process and can help you connect with GCs more easily.
- Filing through a general contractor
- You can also file through a general contractor after contacting them about work on your property. Once you select a particular contractor to do restoration on your home, you can file through them. Some GCs are also connected to claim specialists, which would make the process even more streamlined.
When you contact your insurance, there are a few questions you will want to ask in order to better understand the potential timeline for restoration on your home, and what steps you need to take in order to help move the process along.
- Check the the damage is covered by your insurance in the first place. Flood insurance, earthquake insurance, sewer backup/flooding, and maintenance damage are NOT generally covered by standard insurance, but can be added to your policy or purchased separately.
- How long you have to file the claim. Some insurance companies require you to file your claim within a few months of the damage, and others give you up to a year. Check what your filing requirement is so that you don’t end up not being able to file your claim at all.
- What your deductible is/whether your claim exceeds your deductible.
- How long it might take to process your claim. This won’t necessarily give you a complete timeline, since your insurance won’t always be able to estimate how long contractors will take to complete restoration on your home, but they can often provide an accurate estimate after taking into account the scope of the damage on your home.
- Whether you’ll need estimates for repairs.
An adjuster will likely come to your home for an inspection, so make sure you are prepared for their visit.
Prepare a list of damages that you are aware of, including items that were damaged or destroyed that need replacing. This will make the process of estimating damage costs easier and quicker for your adjuster, since they will be able to check on the items on your list as well as identify areas of damage you may not have noticed or realized.
Provide a copy of any receipts for replacement you have already done, including any receipts or temporary housing in the event that you have had to evacuate your home after the disaster.
Also provide the adjuster with any contracting bids for restoration on your property. If you are working directly with a claim specialist or general contractor, this process will be more streamlined. Ensure that bids are typed out and itemized to make this easier for you, the contractor, and the adjuster, and help cut down on confusion and extra unnecessary time.
Keep copies of any paperwork that you give the adjuster, claim specialist, or contractor for your records, and keep a record of names and numbers for people you correspond with regarding your claim.
If you are prepared for the adjuster, it will make the process that much quicker. For the most part, singular trade work like siding, gutters, doors, etc. shouldn’t take longer than six to eight weeks for the claim to be filed, estimated, funds released, and restored. For more significant projects, the timeline will take longer and be more complicated. Hopefully, if you are prepared and maintain consistent communication with your adjuster and contractors, you can help streamline the process and speed it up so that you can move forward.
Remember, you should feel free to ask any and all questions that come up. This is your home, and it is important that those questions get answered! Keep in mind that NLCS is always here to help you with those questions, and the mess of getting your home restored. Don’t hesitate to contact us for help with this arduous process. We feel confident that we can help you!