Five Steps to Handling an Insurance Claim

June 29, 2016
Handling Roofing Damage

Weather damage is common, especially in areas prone to strong storms throughout the year. Having to file an insurance claim for roof damage can be a stressful time as you will have to document the damage, possibly evacuate tenants, and see that all repairs are done according to code regulations. At Top Floor Insurance, our goal is to keep you informed and prepared for filing insurance claims, when bad weather wreaks havoc on your apartment community. Here are five steps we recommend you follow the next time you have to file a weather-related insurance claim with your apartment community insurance provider.

#1 – Immediately look for damage after a major storm. Inspecting your property should only be done when it is safe to do so. In some cases, you may need to consult with a roofing expert to thoroughly inspect the roofs of your apartment community. Damage may not be easily seen from the ground and may require someone to go on the roof to identify damaged areas. Keep in mind that a roof that seems to be undamaged on the external surface could have damage to the internal structures.

#2 – Document the damage. It is good practice to take pictures of your apartment community, noting the condition of siding, roofs and other external structures like pools or sheds. This way, if damage does occur, as a result of a storm, you will have before and after images of the areas to make your insurance claim more compelling. For any damaged areas, following a storm, take pictures, measurements of the damage, and write down any additional pieces of information such as the date of the event, the time it occurred, the duration of the weather event, and what you did after the damage occurred.

#3 – Contact your insurance company and find out what damage is covered. If the damage to your apartment community is extensive, you will need to file an insurance claim to cover most, if not all of the damage. Some insurance policies have time limits on how long you can wait to submit a weather-related claim and still receive funds to repair the damage. Knowing the ins and outs of your insurance policy is the best way to ensure you take the proper precautions and steps when filing an insurance claim. The apartment community specialists at Top Floor Insurance are happy to help review your current insurance policy to see if you have the right coverage for your property.

Also, note, that some insurance policies have additional guidelines detailing the type of and amount of damage that will be covered for various weather events. For example, if your roof or other external structures are over ten years old, your apartment community insurance may not cover the entire cost to repair it, but instead, may only cover the depreciated value of the structure.

#4 – Choose a reputable contractor familiar with the insurance filing process. After you have filed an insurance claim and assuming the damage is covered by your insurance policy, you will be given funds to repair the damaged areas. You are free to choose any contractor to repair the structures. However, it is always best to select a licensed, certified, and reputable contractor. An experienced contractor may be able to help you with the insurance filing process and can provide additional recommendations that may help you maximize your insurance payout.

#5 – Beware of contingency contracts – and never sign an estimate. If you are shopping around for estimates, you should never have to sign anything. Most contractors will provide a free estimate without the need for you to commit to allowing them to do the work. Contingency contracts, in some cases, are disguised as estimate or damage reports, and if signed you unknowingly agree to give that contractor the work, should your insurance claim be approved. Remember, if you are persuaded or pressured into signing something, this is a major red flag, and it is time to seek out a more reputable and trustworthy contractor.

If you are unsure what your insurance policy covers, or if you are looking for a more affordable or comprehensive apartment community insurance plan, contact the insurance experts at Top Floor Insurance at 404-266-3218. We specialize in apartment community insurance and have worked with a wide range of multi-family property owners to get them the coverage they need to keep their property well protected.