A Property Manager’s Claim Guide
It is no surprise that sooner or later, a property is likely to experience some type of loss.
In this post, we are going to explain how property managers can be better prepared to handle an insurance claim, as well as provide the maximum amount of value to the property owners they manage homes for.
Below are some of the most common types of property damage claims!
1: A brief overview of the claims process
Insurance claims are notoriously known for being lengthy, confusing & frustrating. However, with proper procedures, they can help you save thousands of dollars from having to make extensive property repairs out of pocket.
As a quick overview, the claims process is a bit like this:
- The claim is filed to the insurance company
- The insurance company sends out their adjuster
- A possible inspection may be needed from a 3rd party like an engineer
- The insurance company makes a claim decision & possible payment
Looks pretty simple right? While the claims process may seem simple as a whole, it is the little details that can greatly impact whether or not you receive enough money to repair the damaged property.
2: Loss Documentation & Inspection
When a loss happens, such as a burst pipe or windstorm, it is important to not only document & photograph all the damaged areas, but to also find other possible areas where the loss can spread to.
As an example, after a windstorm causes tiles to lift, what you want to be looking for is the possibility of water intrusion into the ceiling & attack.
More often than not, if you were to file a claim & the insurance company adjuster inspected your property, they would more than likely only pay for the portion of the loss that they see as damaged. In this case, they may only pay for some of the roof tiles, but not additional damages due to water intrusion because it was not noticed during their inspection.
In short, it is paramount that all damaged areas are inspected before the insurance company adjuster comes out. This way, the insurance adjuster can write for all the damaged areas.
3: Policy Review & Dwelling Policies
Reviewing the property’s insurance policy is key to knowing if a claim is worth filing in the first place. For property managers managing residential rental properties, you may find that the insurance policies are dwelling polices. This means that the property is non-owner occupied.
When reviewing the policy, you want to ensure that certain perils are covered. Insurance policy language can be quite confusing more most people, so it may take a bit more reading into the policy to see if certain items may be covered.
4: The importance of an accurate “Date of Loss” (Very Important)
One of the most important factors when filing an insurance claim is the “date of loss”.
In essence, the “date of loss” is defined as the day the loss happened. This is crucial because the insurance company will use this as a basis to see if certain exclusions apply.
Keep in mind that many insurance adjusters are more interested in finding ways to deny or limit coverage on claims to keep their payouts low.
Here is an example to better help you understand.
On September 10, 2017, Hurricane IRMA made landfall in Florida & damaged lots of properties. However, many property owners began seeing water & damp spots in their ceiling months after the hurricane occurred.
If you reported the issues with a date of loss months later, say November 13th, 2017, the insurance company could try to deny coverage. This is because there were no windstorm events strong enough to damage a roof & lift shingles or tiles on the date of November 13th, 2017.
Even though Hurricane IRMA was the original cause of the loss, by simply reporting the claim with an incorrect date of loss, your claim could end up being denied & the property owner would be held responsible to repair the roof out of pocket.
So, always make sure to note the correct date of loss after a loss.
We recommend that property managers inspect all the roofs of their properties after a windstorm event.
5: Release of claim & Undisputed payments
At the end of the claims process, the insurance company may send you a check for what they believe is enough money to fix your property. We call this an undisputed payment. This means that you may have the option to seek further compensation if the payment was not enough to fix all the damages. At Banhan & Mason, this makes up a large percentage of the losses we adjust.
If the insurance company is forcing you to sign a release, then you want to make sure that the amount is enough to cover all the damages. By signing a release of claims, you will NOT be able to pursue more money on the claim should the amount on the release be insufficient to repair the damaged property.
6: Post Decision Help
Many homeowners & property managers choose to seek professional claims help in an effort to minimize the risk of making a mistake & settling for less than what they could recover.
As Public Adjusters, we offer a more focused solution for property managers. We know that the service providers you choose will make an impact on your client’s properties. Our goal is to represent your company as professionally as possible.
If you have a loss or a policy you would like us to review, please feel free to contact us!
Thanks for reading!
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