5 important tips to know before a home or building emergency
Having an insurance policy is just one piece of the puzzle
Brought to you by BluSky Restoration Contractors
The faster a damage restoration company can respond to your disaster, the sooner your people are safe and the better chance you have to prevent further property damage.
That’s why BluSky Restoration Contractors is always ready to go with an experienced project manager on call 24/7 who can have a team of technicians ready to respond and start the cleanup and restoration process.
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You’re already having a bad day when it’s time to contact your insurance company to file a homeowner’s or business owner’s claim, but with the proper planning in place you can avoid turning a bad day worse.
The following 5 tips can best prepare you for a worst-case scenario at your home or business.
1. Know what to do in an emergency
Once you make sure people are safe, the first step should be to contact a restoration contractor to get to work on preventing the problem from getting worse.
“If your insurance policy states that you have a fiduciary responsibility to act in good faith when problems arise, then you have a responsibility to take care of the problem and not just let it go untouched until Monday morning,” said Patrick Hibler, vice president of BluSky Restoration Contractors for the Western Slope region of Colorado.
Next, you’ll need to contact your insurance broker or agent to get to work on filing a claim. Without a solid understanding of your coverage, this is when you might encounter some bad news.
It’s also essential that you don’t jump the gun and do too much before first involving your insurance company, warns Nick Budor, owner/agent at Wall Street Insurance in Edwards.
“Often, the remediation starts before the claim is filed or before the adjuster shows up if the claim has been filed, but I have seen situations where a homeowner gets everything done and then calls their insurance company,” Budor said. “I tell people to get started on the things that need to happen, but to make sure the insurance carrier is involved and has eyes on the scene if you’re going to file a claim. … Just because there’s water damage under the sink doesn’t mean you get a new $30,000 master bathroom.”
2. Know what your policy covers/don’t be underinsured
The biggest challenge people have when it’s time to contact their insurance company is they just don’t understand what their policy covers.
“You need somebody on your side to help you wade through the language,” Hibler said.
Budor said it’s common to see a policy in which a home isn’t covered to a high enough rebuilding cost. On a homeowner’s policy, this is called Coverage A, which is meant to be an approximation of the cost of rebuilding from the foundation up.
“If you don’t have enough coverage there, or you underestimated it to save on your premium, then you could be left with insufficient funds in a worst-case scenario,” Budor said. “Not having a well informed estimate of your true rebuilding costs can leave you with a big bill at the end of the disaster. You’ve already lost your home — undershooting the rebuild value by hundreds of thousands of dollars is adding insult to injury.”
Certain situations such as floods, earthquakes and wind events aren’t covered by homeowner’s insurance and require separate policies. Budor said you’ll hear of sad stories all the time, especially in hurricane areas, where people are left without coverage because they didn’t have a flood policy.
Locally, anyone who lives near a river or lake should consider a flood policy. And given recent wildfires throughout the state, it’s important to consider burn scars since they can also lead to increased flood risks, Budor said.
3. Work with a broker
When buying a homeowner’s or business owner’s insurance policy, work with a broker to understand the ins and outs. Brokers work for you and can be your advocate when purchasing insurance.
Budor said a local agent or broker who knows contractors and restoration contractors can help prevent the aforementioned insufficient funds crisis. He advises people to be wary of insurance agencies that rely on a rating system to estimate rebuilding costs. Many of the well known national insurance carriers do this.
“In our environment, both geographically in the mountains and the rate at which building costs have increased over the last decade, those numbers in a rating system can get obsolete,” he said.
4. Make sure your policy is appropriate to your use of the home
Do you use your home as a primary residence, long-term rental, vacation home or short-term rental? Your policy needs to be underwritten appropriately to match that usage.
“Having the proper coverage helps ensure that a claim goes smoothly,” said Hibler. “It’s essential to have the right insurance or your claim could be denied,” Hibler said.
5. Hire skilled, reputable restoration contractors
There are a lot of contractors in Eagle County and surrounding mountain areas. You’ll want to work with a contractor that insurance carriers are familiar with and who also has a good reputation, Hibler said.
“Talk with your broker, look at the Better Business Bureau — do your research,” he said. “Chances are likely that you know someone who’s had an event such as flood, fire or mold damage. Talk to them and find out who they’ve used.”
Hibler said BluSky Restoration Contractors has the benefit of being backed by a national firm with the resources to get things done. The company’s expertise is hyperfocused on fixing broken buildings.
“You want a company that has the capacity to do that work, and do it quickly,” Hibler said. “Everyone at BluSky goes through rigorous training and we’re constantly educating our people on the latest techniques and equipment. We are committed to getting you back into your home or business as quickly and safely as possible.”
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