After a home emergency like a flood or fire, you may be staring at the aftermath, wondering whether to call a restoration or insurance company first. An emergency home services provider will immediately start cleanup and restoration. But your insurer should cover the cost and must be notified as soon as possible. There’s not much room for error here.
Oftentimes, an emergency home services contractor will work with your insurance company. This is important because if water is flooding your home from a rainstorm, overflowing drain, or leaking roof, you cannot wait. You need someone to address the problem and you need your insurance company to know about the issue right away.
Reasons to Contact the Insurance Company First
Here’s why you should call your insurer as soon as you can:
- The emergency technician may be unable to work with your insurer if you haven’t spoken to an agent.
- The insurance company may have a different opinion; instead of repairing the roof, they may decide to replace it is better.
- An insurance agent can answer your questions, explain your options, and refer you to a contractor they have worked with.
Shouldn’t I Get an Emergency Home Services Professional to My House Right Away?
When you contact the claims department at your insurance company, they should respond promptly. Call your insurance agent directly if you have one. The company will send someone to assess the damage and determine how much to pay. You’ll need to provide them with a list of all damaged, destroyed, or missing items. If you have photos and videos of the damage, include them with your list.
But you’ll need to make repairs to avoid further damage, even if they’re just temporary. Steps such as boarding up windows or patching holes in the roof should be done whether an insurance representative has visited your home or not. You’ll also need to clean and dry water-damaged items. The insurer will understand and respect that you worked to avoid additional losses.
Document the initial damage and cleanup with pictures. Also, store any receipts for clean-up expenses in a safe place.
Therefore, you can call an emergency home services company first, so long as you document the damage before and after cleanup.
How to Handle Payments
The insurance company should pay if your homeowner’s insurance policy covers the type of damage and its cause. But that doesn’t mean you’ll get the cash right away. If you don’t have the budget to pay upfront for cleanup and repairs, this can create a conflict of interest. Here are some tips for handling payment issues:
- Withhold What You Can Until the Contractor Is Done: A reputable contractor will accept partial payments during the project rather than demand a full payment upfront. The terms of the agreement should be specified in the contract. Your mortgage lender may also have requirements as to how to disperse insurance funds.
- Contact a Representative If Repair Costs Exceed the Insurance Payment: Sometimes an insurance company will offer an amount that’s less than the cost of repairs. A contractor may also find more damage after the insurer has determined what to pay. Speak to a representative to resolve any issues; if that doesn’t help, file a complaint with your state’s insurance department.
- Ask Whether Living Expenses Are Covered: You may incur hotel room and other living expenses while your home is being repaired. Homeowners’ policies usually cover these costs. Ask your agent if the policy restricts where and how long you can stay somewhere, or if the company will reimburse a friend or relative who provides lodging for you (if proof of payment is available).
Remember, every insurance policy is different. Standard homeowners’ policies don’t cover flood damage, but you still have options. You can purchase a flood insurance policy, in which case an adjuster from the National Flood Insurance Program will be assigned to your claim. Grants, low-interest loans, and other types of federal assistance may be available if your home isn’t covered for flood damage.
For fire damage, biohazard cleanup, mold remediation, plumbing failures, and disaster relief cleanup, check your existing policy to see what is covered.
Contact Restorerz in an Emergency
Restorerz is a premier emergency home services company in the Los Angeles area. Our trained and certified professionals are available 24/7 and respond to home emergencies in 60 minutes or less. They’ll help clean up and restore your home after a fire, flood, or sewage backup or if you have mold, and provide pack out and storage services. We work with all insurance companies, using 3D video and image capture to help with claims, and offer competitive pricing. Call (323) 402-6156 to get started.