How Does Insurance Help After A Storm

Hi, this is Mary Beth Harrison with Dallas Native Voice, and today we’re talking about insurance and claims.

I’m sitting here with Rani Alfers with Farmers Insurance, and oh my goodness, with the storms and the way this year has gone with our weather, this has been crazy. So I’ve made a claim. What happens next? I’ve called you and I’ve said, “Rani, my roof, I have hail damage, my car, whatever,” where does it go from there? Does it just go in the sky and I hope to goodness one day it gets taken care of? What happens?

That’s a great question, Mary Beth, because we have lots of claims rolling in with the storms that we’ve had recently. One thing for consumers and homeowners to understand, I’ll focus maybe on the home side today, but we want them to understand first and foremost that during this process, the company is on your side. I think there’s a myth that we’re working against you, we don’t want to pay anything, but I promise you we’re there to protect you, we’re there to pay and restore where you were when you started your policy with us, and we want to help. So keep that in mind when you’re navigating through the claims process.

When you make that initial call, Mary Beth, because that’s the first phone call, you call the company and they’re going to ask you a series of questions, what the date of loss is, what type of loss, where are the losses in your home, to what degree is the loss. They’re triaging your claim. They may seem a little impersonal sometimes, we’ve heard this before.

But they just need the [crosstalk 00:01:34]

[crosstalk 00:01:34] information. Think about going to the doctor’s office. Does your knee hurt? Does your arm hurt? Tell me where it hurts.

Is the damage outside or has it come inside? Is your roof now leaking? Because that’s been a question.

That’s a good question. And we need to know where, and from that point they are going to tell you an adjuster will contact you, usually within 24 hours. Hopefully it’s within 24 hours. If there is a delay in that, it’s only because it’s a very large storm and it’s impacting others.

Once the adjuster is assigned to your account, they’re going to set a time for inspection. I also recommend at inspection that if you have that roofer or that vendor that you trust, the insured, trusted roofer and vendor, have them meet your adjuster out there. We’re totally okay with this. Everyone is on the same page. Everyone is looking out for you. If they can’t make it or if you can’t be at home during the inspection, that’s okay too. But if you have everybody on one page, it’s helpful.

Yes. Okay.

Once the inspector is out there, he’s going to determine a scope of work. All carriers use generally the same software, it’s Exactimate. We’re getting our information from the same places. So we’re going to assess and say, “Well, this is how much damage, this is the cost to replace it, and here is our estimate minus your deductible.”

So once you have that estimate in your hand, then what?

Right. Where do we go from here?

Where do we go from here?

And at that point, that is when you’re able to, of course, contact your vendor and start the remedy, the restoration process, getting the new roof, getting the new hardwood floors that were flooded.

So how does the money work? You’ve come out and said you’re going to give me $10,000 for my roof. So I call my roofer and go, “Okay, I’m going to put the new roof on.” Do we have to wait until he’s finished, get his bill, and then present it to you? How does that work?

That is a great question, because it’s a lot of money to replace a roof. So let’s assume you have a replacement cost on your policy. Let’s hope you do.

Yes.

Let’s hope you do. And then we’re going to estimate the cost of replacing your roof at replacement cost. My roof needs $10,000, here’s $10,000 to replace your roof. We back out the deductible. So we subtract that out, and then we also subtract out the depreciation of the roof. And this is where it gets tricky, because what’s left from that $10,000 is not a whole bunch. And someone will say, “Well how do I get my roof replaced for this?”

And we remind them, let the roofer know that they can get started. The roofer will get started, you can pay them usually the first half or third, and then once it’s completed, you show your insurance company the invoice, they’ll give you back the depreciation, we call it recoverable depreciation. So the only thing you’re out of pocket at this point is your deductible. Which will always be out of pocket, your deductible. That’s your part.

I know there are some companies or some adjusters that are writing a check right that second, and that’s great. They’re are not many of those, but I have heard that they have done that as well. And if not, there should be some documentation that they send to you via email or whatever that says, “Here’s what we found, this is what we think.”

A few days after they’ve visited your property, or sometimes right then and there, it depends on the scope of damage, they’ll give you the estimate. Sometimes when they’re issuing payment, any delay could be because you might have a mortgage on your home. If it’s a very large claim, we might need to include the mortgage company on some of those checks. So you have a process on your mortgage side, nothing to do with insurance, but that you have to work with your mortgage company on.

But on the smaller claims, we really want to replace the roof, we want to repair what’s going on.

Y’all don’t need any more damage.

We don’t need anymore damage.

You don’t any more damage from this.

If we don’t repair it, something else is going to happen.

Exactly. Got it.

Okay, so that walks us through the claim process, which I think many of us have had to rely on with all the storms that have come through our area. And what’s amazing is that it’s been all over Texas. It’s not like in Oklahoma, it’s not just been here. It’s all over. So yeah, this has been a really strange year for storms.

Well if you need any more information on insurance claims or much of anything else that has to do with home ownership, you can find us a dallasnative.com. We’re on all social media and [inaudible 00:06:01].

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