Be prepared and be at your best when events are at their worst with this Disaster Recovery Checklist:
- Build your Team
- Back Up
Hire and assign your own experts in the area of insurance to be your representatives in the event of a disaster. Professionals, such as licensed public adjusters, will assist in handling the claims process and communicating effectively with your insurance carrier, thus ensuring a more effective recovery.
It is important to remember that the insurance adjuster sent by your carrier represents their interests and not always yours. Having an expert who works exclusively for you is the best way to achieve a fair and timely settlement for your claim, while also allowing you to focus your efforts on resuming business operations.
Thorough documentation, both before and after a disaster, is crucial. Photos of the property taken beforehand will help to determine the extent of the damage. For this reason, photos should be taken yearly and after any alterations or renovations to the property.
After a disaster, detailed photos and video of the damage, including debris, should be taken before any cleanup occurs. Just as important is a good record of all activities and expenses involved with the recovery efforts.
Save all receipts and keep detailed records of expenses. Keeping a log of work performed, especially by contractors, is also advisable. All of this documentation is vital to receiving reimbursement from your carrier later on.
Ensure that the information vital to your business is backed up at a secure off site location. This includes things like client records, sales histories, and financial documents.
When it comes to reporting your loss and filing a claim, ensure you thoroughly understand your policy language. Before entering into negotiations, request a complete copy of your policy for review. An insurance professional can help you to understand exactly what your rights and obligations are under the policy.
After disaster occurs, it is important to protect your property from sustaining further damage. Typically, this involves emergency work like boarding up, hanging tarps, removing wet carpet or drywall, and installing fencing to prevent unauthorized access. Not only do these things safeguard your property, but they are also typically required by your insurer as due diligence.
For any work other than emergency services, it is not advisable to hire a contractor before a scope of damage and an estimate of pricing has been agreed upon with your insurance company. Beware of signing any contracts for repair or replacement before this has been done.
During the recovery process, make the decisions that are best for you and your business. Nobody knows your business as thoroughly as you do. Therefore, nobody knows better than you what full recovery means for that business. Do not expect the insurance company and their adjusters to look out for your best interests. Hire experts to advocate for you and ensure you receive everything your policy entitles you to.
Have questions about your property insurance claim? Feel free to contact Stark Loss for more information about how a Public Adjuster can help.