Demystifying Insurance for Disaster Restoration Claims
Insurance is purchased to protect our assets in the event of a disaster. But insurance can be very confusing to the average person. Especially when something happens that you thought was covered by insurance but wasn’t. As Central Oregon disaster restoration experts, we help homeowners, renters, and business owners, restore damages to their pre-disaster state. We work with insurance companies daily to help our customers repair the damage quickly and professionally.
In this blog, we sat down with SERVPRO of Bend and SERVPRO of N. Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook Counties owner Brent Irwin to answer some of his most common insurance questions. We hope this information will help you better understand how and what to do should disaster strike you.
- I have water/smoke/fire damage in my home (or business). What do I do? According to Brent Irwin, the best thing to do in this situation is to call a restoration professional to evaluate the loss. While it may be tempting, don’t try to repair the damage yourself before notifying the insurance company and filing a claim. There are many situations where some of the damage may be hidden. Depending on the structural material and the cause of the loss, restoration providers have infrared cameras and moisture meters to follow the path of the damage. This information allows us to understand the extent of the damage better and provide the insurance company with as complete a picture as possible for claim review.
- Is my loss covered? We expect insurance to cover our losses, so we purchase it. But not all losses are covered by insurance. The insurance agent best addresses a question regarding limitations in coverage. Find out if your policy covers fire damage restoration, water damage restoration, smoke damage restoration, and even mold remediation.
- How much will the restoration cost? As restoration experts, we would love to know the costs before starting. The challenge, however, is that until the affected material is removed, we don’t know. As mentioned in the first question, the use of tools helps us provide as complete a picture as possible, but it isn’t an exact science. Sometimes we remove material and discover that damage effects go beyond what was initially thought. That’s why we at SERVPRO of Bend remain in constant contact with insurance companies to get the proper approvals BEFORE removing any material. This process protects you, our customer, and ensures that every possible box has been checked before starting.
- My insurance carrier told me to go with a different company. Do I have to? In Oregon, it is your right as a consumer to use any disaster restoration professional you choose. That said, SERVPRO of Bend and SERVPRO of N. Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook Counties are preferred providers for most major insurance carriers.
- How do I know that the contractor is qualified to do the work? Working with a contractor or remodeler licensed through the Oregon Construction Contractors Board is advantageous. The license ensures they have the skill set needed to provide an estimate of the repairs needed.
- How will the contractor be paid? Similar to health insurance, your property insurance carrier will have an adjuster responsible for reviewing the costs associated with the project. It is their job to compare the estimate provided by the restoration company to the contractor’s estimate. If both parties agree on the amount listed, the insurance will usually send the payment directly to the restoration contractor. This benefits you, as the consumer, as it removes you from being involved with the financial side of disaster restoration.
At SERVPRO of Bend, we have extensive experience in disaster restoration. We also are used to working with insurance providers to help support our customers during a very stressful time. Our goal, with every restoration project, is that the result looks and feels like the damage never even happened. Often our results look better than before the damage occurred. If you need water damage repair, mold remediation, fire damage restoration, or any other type of disaster restoration, contact us at SERVPRO of Bend or SERVPRO of N. Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook Counties.
We look forward to helping you.