The most important way we serve our Utica area community with insurance products is when a large disaster happens to one of our customers. That could mean a car accident, a serious fire at their home or severe windstorm.
It’s winter, so we thought now might be the time to talk a bit about the claims process if you suffer a destructive house fire. After all, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that home fires occur more in the winter. And heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires.
Add the risk of candlelight so popular in the winter, holidays, and winter storms, and you have a mixed brew of causes for home fires in winter.
So what are some of the things can you expect during a homeowners insurance claim?
Claim Payments, Not Always Payment
Reconstructing heavily damaged property is a process. When you start, it’s impossible to know the final cost.
So your insurance adjustor may offer an advance against the total settlement amount. Remember, the total settlement amount is based on the terms and limits of your homeowners policy.
If you do accept a total amount settlement at the beginning but find additional damage later, you can reopen the claim subject to certain time limits.
And remember that checks for repairs to your dwelling will be made out to you and your mortgage holder. The mortgage holder will have to endorse the payment checks before you can cash them.
You will most likely receive multiple checks for the different kinds of property damaged and for additional coverages. For example, it’s typical to receive a check for the damage to your home and another for damage to your personal belongings, or contents.
Your check for damaged or destroyed contents may be written for a depreciated amount (actual cash value) until you actually replace the property. That way the insurance company will pay the actual replacement cost, not an estimated amount. If you decide not to replace the property, you keep the actual cash value payment.
You may also have a coverage called Additional Living Expense. This pays if you can’t live at home while it is being repaired. That could include hotel/motel expenses or rental expenses on a temporary dwelling. This is also usually paid in a separate check.
Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig’s Full Time Claims Manager
The claims process can seem daunting for those who’ve never experienced it before. That’s why our clients’ claims are handled by a full time claims manager. Her name is Cathy LeTray and she’s been with us since 1994. She will guide you every step of the way through the claims process for a prompt and fair resolution.
Over the years we’ve found that our clients are most concerned about protection. They want the right insurance for the best price.
If we don’t have your homeowners insurance now, call us for a quote. We’ll go over the replacement cost of your dwelling and the right amount of contents coverage, including on special items such as jewelry, high value items and collections.
And we wish you a happy and safe rest of the winter!
Until next time,
Your SZW Team
SZW Insurance is your Utica area Trusted Choice™ independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.