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Protect your property and your peace of mind with these practical strategies for mitigating future losses. From maintenance to documentation, learn how to prevent and prepare for property claims.
The last thing anyone wants on a workday morning is to come in and find a big puddle of water on the floor or a broken window and items missing. Property loss can be a huge strain and stressor, but fortunately, there are prevention strategies to help prevent damages and claims.
Although property insurance can help mitigate the financial impact of a property loss, the situation itself is inherently stressful. Below, we discuss a few things you can do ahead of time to either help prevent a claim from occurring, or at least make the process easier.
The best way to avoid most property claims is to keep your property well maintained. Our office commonly sees water damage claims caused by aged roofing, leaky washing machine hoses, and cracked lines to refrigerator ice makers.
Repairs to items that have failed due to age or wear and tear aren’t usually covered by insurance, so directing dollars toward preventative maintenance usually ends up saving you money in the long run.
Ensure protective devices around the property, such as smoke detectors, overhead sprinklers and other fire suppression systems, and burglar alarms, are functioning properly. Regular maintenance checks and make all the difference!
Not only can these devices help reduce the severity of a loss, but many policies contain a protective devices warranty, which means that your coverage and pricing is contingent on having certain safety devices in place. In other words, your insurance company can refuse to pay a claim if it’s determined that you failed to maintain the required devices in complete working order prior to the loss.
Even if you’re not planning to file a claim down to the last paperclip, detailed documentation makes it easier for the adjuster to understand the quantity and quality of the items lost. Besides keeping electronic copies of receipts, consider taking photos or slow-motion video of both the inside and outside of your property, including the contents of cabinets and drawers.
If you’re up to the task, create a spreadsheet of the more valuable items, including their age, purchase price, brand, model number, and features. Store all this information offsite (perhaps in the cloud, or maybe on a flash drive in a secure location) and be sure to review and update it at least twice a year.
Afraid of forgetting something? Don’t worry! Adjusters certainly understand that most insureds don’t keep records for every single screwdriver ever purchased. In general, though, the more documentation you have, the better off you’ll be.
Many kinds of property claims require immediate action to stop the damage from getting worse.
Although some insurance carriers can provide assistance with choosing a contractor to make temporary repairs or to dry out saturated walls and flooring, it’s often helpful to do some research about local options ahead of time so you’re prepared in the event of an emergency.
Most carriers staff 24-hour call centers to allow easy reporting of claims. Why not add these phone numbers, along with the corresponding policy numbers, to the contacts in your phone?
For your convenience, you can also visit our Carrier Contacts page in our online resource center for a list of helpful numbers and links to many of our carriers.
You may also visit out Self-Service Requests page for easy access to claim reporting or requesting policy documentation.
At Morris & Garritano, our dedicated Claims Advocate, Heather Ross, is here to help. Please feel free to contact her for more information on the claims reporting documents for each of your policies, or if you have any other claims-related questions with which we might be able to assist.