PROPERTY DAMAGE TO MY HOME OR BUSINESS:
My property has been damaged or stolen. What do I do now?
- Contact Police – Notify the police immediately if a crime has been committed.
- Contact Insurance Company – Promptly notify your insurance agent or insurance company.
- Cooperate with Investigation – Preserve all evidence of the event which resulted in damage to the property. You must provide your insurance company with an opportunity to perform an inspection, to verify the facts and to determine coverage. Try to photograph and document the event if possible.
- Mitigate Damage – Take any and all reasonable steps necessary to protect property from further damage. This would include such things as securing openings in the building, shutting off and cleaning up water, moving contents out of harm’s way and maintaining heat and/or winterization. Make every effort to preserve the damage and physical evidence for the insurance company’s evaluation.
- Present Your Claim – Determine and document the amount of your claim. Provide the insurance company with proof of your loss and claim (e.g. estimates, inventories, bills, invoices, receipts, photographs, etc.). Comply with the policy requirements regarding submission of a Proof of Loss.
My claim includes damage to my contents (Personal Property). What do I do now?
Contact a Contents Restoration Company – In most cases after a loss many of the personal property contents can be cleaned or restored. As it is your duty to protect property from further damage and to minimize your loss, you will need to take reasonable steps necessary to save your contents. There are many companies that specialize in contents restoration after property damage has occurred. These companies can provide assistance in evaluating your contents for damage and performing necessary restoration services. These services may include an emergency response to remove salvageable contents from a damaged area of the structure in order to protect them from further damage. They will also move and store your contents as necessary while your home or business is being repaired.
Inventory Total Loss Items – It is possible that personal property items will be damaged to a point that they are not restorable or not cost effective to restore. These items are therefore a total loss and they will have to be properly inventoried and valued. It is very important that you do not throw away total loss contents until they have been properly evaluated and inventoried and your insurance company has completed their inspection and evaluation of the total loss items. You must get permission from your insurance company before disposing of such items. If you find that total loss contents are in the way and preventing the repairs to your home or business, or otherwise adversely affecting your home or business, you will need to promptly notify the insurance company and agree upon a process to address these issues.
When preparing your total loss contents inventory it is necessary to provide a detailed description of each item, including brand, serial number, model number, color, size and type of material. Based on these specifications, you will need to provide a current replacement cost for each damaged item. The Replacement Cost is the current cost to purchase an item of like kind and quality.
It is also necessary to provide the age of each item. The Actual Cash Value of each item is then calculated by deducting depreciation. Depreciation reflects the loss in value due to age, wear, deterioration, obsolescence and resale value.
Whom do I hire to repair my home/business or to restore my contents?
All contractors and vendors used to restore your damaged property are hired directly by you. They are not hired by your insurance company or by Butler & Associates Adjusting Company. You may choose to hire any company that you wish. Local contractors and restoration companies can be found on the internet and through other types of advertising, or in some cases, through your agent or insurance company. Please be aware that your contractors and vendors work for you. Therefore, you will need to exercise due diligence when selecting and hiring a contractor. You will be responsible for overseeing the performance and workmanship of your contractor.
What is “Additional Living Expense” coverage on a Homeowners policy and how does it work?
If your home is damaged by a covered loss, the homeowners policy will typically include Additional Living Expense coverage to aid you. This coverage is intended to cover the reasonable increase in your living expenses due to the loss of use of your home. Such expenses can include reasonable hotel charges and increased food expenses. In the event of severe damage to your home taking many weeks or months to repair, it is customary and reasonable to rent a temporary home or apartment. This may include the rental of furnishings necessary to make the temporary home livable. The level of such a rental is based on what is reasonable to maintain your normal standard of living.
Please note that this coverage will extend for the shortest period required to repair or replace your home, or for you to permanently relocate.
This coverage extends only to a reasonable increase in the cost to maintain your standard of living. You are still responsible for paying all normal living expenses at the level incurred prior to the occurrence of the covered loss.
Please note that in order to claim these expenses it is important that you properly document all expenses incurred. Keep all bills, invoices and receipts for such expenses and organize them in a logical manner to be submitted to your insurance company.
What is “Business Income” coverage and how does it work?
Your business policy may include coverage for Business Income loss. This coverage may vary greatly depending on your specific insurance policy. Please review your policy and consult with your agent and insurance company for specific coverage information.
In general, this type of coverage is designed to assist you by covering the loss of revenue sustained due to a reduction or suspension of your business operations when a covered cause of loss occurs. You are required to take all reasonable steps necessary to maintain your business operations and to minimize your loss of income. It is important that you cooperate with your insurance company and reach an agreement as to the reasonable steps necessary.
The policy will require you to carefully document your loss and to allow the insurance company to fully examine your books and accounting records in order to evaluate and verify your claim.
What is “Extra Expense” coverage on a business policy and how does it work?
If your business policy includes Business Income coverage, it may also include coverage for Extra Expenses. This coverage may vary greatly depending on your specific insurance policy. Please review your policy and consult with your agent and insurance company for specific coverage information.
In general, this type of coverage is designed to assist by covering the additional expenses you incur in order to reduce the suspension of your business operations and resulting Business Income loss when a covered cause of loss has occurred. Because you are required under the policy to take all reasonable actions to maintain your business operations and to minimize your loss of income, this coverage will assist with additional expenses that may arise out of these efforts. It is important to cooperate with your insurance company and reach an agreement as to the reasonable steps necessary.
The policy will require you to carefully document these expenses. You will need to carefully track these expenses and provide the supporting bills, invoices and related documentation. You will be required to allow the insurance company to fully examine your books and accounting records in order to evaluate and verify your claim.
What happens when I have a mortgage or other secured financial encumbrance attached to my property?
If a mortgage company or another secured party has an interest in your property at the time of the loss, that entity will be included by the insurance company as a payee on all payments relating to the property for which there is a secured interest. You will need to notify your mortgage company/bank of the loss and follow their requirements and procedures for the release of the insurance funds needed to proceed with repairs or replacement of the damaged property.
What if I am in an auto accident?
Immediately call 911. If possible, obtain contact, vehicle and insurance information from the other parties involved. Promptly notify your insurance agent or insurance company, as required by the insurance policy.
What should I do in the event of an accident where injuries may be involved?
Immediately call 911. Document the event as best as possible. Afterward promptly notify your insurance agent or insurance company, as required by the insurance policy.
What if I receive a letter from an attorney claiming injury or damage?
Promptly notify your insurance agent or insurance company, as required by the insurance policy.
What if I am served with a lawsuit, either in person or by mail?
Immediately notify your insurance agent or insurance company, as required by the insurance policy. Please be aware that lawsuits are time sensitive and require an immediate response.