All About Insurance Claims

Some property owners hesitate to file an insurance claim for damages because they feel like it'll just increase their future premiums or that it'll create a huge hassle and headache. This hesitation can lead to escalating damage that will be more costly in the long run. We've compiled some helpful information to take the mystery and confusion out of the insurance claims process and insurance repair in general so local property owners will feel more confident about seeking professional help to repair and restore their homes and businesses.

Insurance Bill of Rights

Insurance Damage Repair Bill of Rights

Property owners have more power over their insurance claims than most companies would like them to believe.

>Mitigation & Repair Process

Mitigation & Repair Process

We outline the first steps after your phone call to us and explain the entire mitigation and restoration process so you know what to expect.

Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks

Even before restoration begins, owners can take some basic steps to minimize further damage. Read on to see what you can do before help arrives.

Insurance Damage Repair Bill of Rights

Any type of property damage will cause stress. We find, however, that when property owners know what to expect during the insurance claims process – and what their rights are – the level of anxiety greatly decreases, and everyone is able to make better decisions. As Professional Restoration Contractors, we believe the public interest is best served if people have an understanding of their rights and the alternatives available to them when insurance damage and repair work are involved.

Your insurance policy is a CONTRACT between you and the insurance company. It entitles you to certain rights and imposes certain obligations. While each policy is different in terms of coverage, unless there is a specific exclusion relating to the terms, this Bill of Rights for Property Owners describes your basic entitlements.

Here are some of your rights and obligations under its terms:

  1. You make take, and be fully compensated for, the cost of emergency steps to safeguard your property from further damage after a loss, even before your insurance claim is approved. Certain services like emergency board-up, roof tarping, and water extraction needs to be started immediately, and you can hire a professional for those services without prior approval of the insurance company. 
  2. You are entitled to compensation for the fair cost of fully restoring your home to its pre-damage condition. However, the project scope estimate may include additional repairs for unrelated problems, code deficiencies, or prior damage, but those may not be covered by your insurance policy. Your contractor should specify which, if any, of the repairs will require out-of-pocket payments. 
  3. You are entitled to employ and should insist upon a fully licensed and insured restoration company of good reputation. 
  4. You are not obligated to use the insurance company's preferred vendor. The repair contract and its performance is strictly between you and the contractor. As long as the company you choose holds the required licenses, your insurance company is obligated to participate in the project scope estimate process and provide the subsequent claim payout. 
  5. You are entitled to materials and workmanship fully equivalent to your existing installation in like-kind and quality. The insurance company has no obligation to improve your existing installation. You may choose to upgrade your home as part of the restoration process, but any costs over and above "like-kind" will need to be paid out of pocket.
  6. You are not required to accept the lowest bidder, however, repair rates should correspond to prevailing standards in your area for work of good quality. The best bid, then, will probably not be the lowest; a reputable restoration company will be able to prove that their estimate is in line with local standards. 
  7. You are entitled to receive a detailed listing of the scope of repairs and quantities of materials to be provided before work begins. We use the same estimating program as most insurance companies (Xactimate) so our work estimates are always transparent and clear. Also, provisions for hidden or latent problems relating to the damage should be spelled out in as much detail as possible.
  8. You are entitled to and should reject any contract that does not address all federal, state, and local requirements for residential construction work. However, you must be familiar with these requirements to enjoy the protection the law provides. Ask an Industry Certified Restoration Contractor for this critical information.
  9. You are entitled to select a firm that can demonstrate skill and experience in insurance damage repair as a full-time professional service. Ask for references, credentials, and association memberships that indicate professional training and status in insurance repair, as contrasted with ordinary home improvement work.
  10. If a disagreement arises between you, the insurance company, or your restoration contractor (or any combination thereof), you are entitled to request arbitration for settling differences
  11. You are entitled to receive payment from the insurance company within the specified time stated by your policy and your state's insurance regulations. These regulations prevent insurance companies from using delay to compel a lower settlement. The policy also requires, however, the homeowner to submit the claim within a certain time period. Your restoration contractor will assist you in preparing your claim paperwork. 

Mitigation & Repair Process

How it works and what to expect after you call a restoration company

  • Emergency Response

    24/7 quick emergency response to arrive on site. Identify and stop the source of water intrusion. Obtain all documentation required by insurance claims (Photos, videos, work notes, dates etc.) Identify potential safety hazards, pre-existing conditions, extent of damages/water migration. Set up any required floor protection, containment areas and protect client belongings. Quickly work to identify & mitigate all potential risks for secondary/additional damages. Communicate findings, recommendations, mitigation processes and answer any questions the client may have.

  • Extraction/Demolition

    Quickly remove any standing water with one of our top-of-the-line truck mount extraction units. Demolition is often required to expose/dry affected building materials. Dry Source works to complete the least amount of demo necessary to dry all affected areas to pre-loss conditions.

  • Establish Drying System

    Determine most efficient method using IICRC industry standards. Set up drying system through a combination of air movement, dehumidification, and supplemental heat.

  • Monitor

    Coordinate with client schedule to check the job each day. Technicians document any changes, check equipment is functioning properly, take/document moisture content/atmospheric readings and adjust equipment based on findings. After moisture readings indicate all affected materials are dry, equipment is removed and a final clean is completed.

  • Rebuild

    Because our comprehensive team also includes skilled carpenters, drywallers, electricians, and plumbers, we can rebuild and fully restore any areas that required demolition in order to dry completely. We will restore your property to pre-loss condition or better.

  • Billing

    If the job involves an insurance claim, all you are required to do is initiate a claim with your carrier. From there, Dry Source handles all communication with your carrier to ensure you get complete coverage.

Tips & Tricks

Damage to your home can be an extremely overwhelming situation for any homeowner. It can also be very difficult to know what to do to properly handle the situation. Water damages are one of the most common homeowner’s claims, so it’s a good idea to keep a few common tips in the back of your mind in case you find yourself with unwanted water in your home.

  1. First Steps

    The very first thing you should do in the event of a water damage is locate the source of the water and ensure that the flow of water has been stopped. Cleanup can’t happen if water is still actively pouring into the home. After the water has been stopped, it’s a good idea to cut the power to the home if there is any standing water. Obviously, electricity and water can make a dangerous combination. If either of these tasks put you at risk, wait for a professional. Finally, as long as it’s safe, take as many pictures as possible before starting any potential DIY cleanup. You’ll want to start cleaning right away if possible, but you’ll also want your insurance company to be able to see the initial extent of the damage before any cleaning occurred. Once pictures have been taken and the area has been deemed safe, remove as much standing water as possible and set fans to begin the drying process.

  2. Consider Volume and Source

    If you’re thinking about trying to do the cleanup on your own, you’ll want to consider the volume and the source of the water. A tiny patch of clean water is usually something that can be handled in house, but a basement flooded with sewage needs to be handled by a professional. It’s important to remember, though, that even small amounts of water can hide in cracks and crevices and within porous materials creating the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew if not dried completely. As far as the source of water, if the water is grey or black, it should never be handled on your own. These waters contain contaminants that need to be properly cleaned to ensure the safety of the home and everyone in it.

  3. Call Insurance

    If you’ve determined that the issue is beyond the scope of your abilities to handle, it’s time to contact your insurance company. You’ll want to find out what kind of coverage you have for the loss and what your deductible is. If you decide to file a claim, you’ll be assigned an adjustor to handle it. Often your insurance company will put you in touch with a preferred restoration vendor, but sometimes they’ll advise you to find one on your own.

  4. Contact a Restoration Service

    A restoration professional will be able to work directly with your insurance company and you to ensure the job is done properly. A project manager or technician will assess the damage and help determine the most appropriate course of action. Standing water will be extracted and drying equipment will be set right away so the damage doesn’t become worse. Once everything is dry, unsalvageable materials will be removed and everything else will be cleaned and sanitized to prepare for reconstruction.