Document! Document! Document!
Having proper documentation is an essential part of getting your claim, and it requires more than simply taking a few photographs and sending in a one-page estimate from a contractor.
You will greatly increase your chances to recover the most money quickly by having a large document package that leaves no doubt about the damage, including:
- Multiple detailed pictures. Take enough pictures so that the insurance company cannot complain that a particular picture doesn’t show significance of damage. On each picture, detail the specific kind of damage so that it is easy for anyone to understand.
- Multiple detailed videos. Take detailed videos of every aspect of damage, as well as videos after completion of repairs. Videotape or audiotape the proceedings by the insurance adjuster or independent field adjuster when they inspect your home.
- Reports from professional field adjusters. Insurance companies use their own adjusters to assess the value of damage to your property. Be prepared with your own experienced professionals documentation to help combat discrepancies.
- Multiple estimates. Insurance companies want to see that you’ve done your homework when it comes to obtaining contractors for repairs. Obtaining multiple estimates is another way of showing the cost of the damage to your property.
- Documentation of all Communication. Create a paper trail by documenting every correspondence with the insurance company and adjusters by writing letters or e-mails after every discussion or representation. The documentation should be in sufficient detail as to properly reflect what has been promised/completed/not completed and should request they let you know in writing if there is any inaccuracy in what you have written.
In the event that you need to pursue litigation for your claim, your documentation will be especially important. If your treatment by the company is particularly bad, the courts may allow additional compensation when the insurance company acted in “bad faith.”