What To Do After A Loss
Avoid Unscrupulous Contractors
Avoid contractors and others who are attempting to take advantage of your loss. This includes building contractors and unlicensed adjusters who enter town after a storm to take advantage of the situation. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Work with building contractors who live in the area and have built a good reputation, and don’t pay for repairs in advance of the work being done.
Know your coverages
Contact your agent or insurance company and discuss your options. Ask “what if” questions to better understand what types of losses are covered and what coverage options are available:
- What if a tree falls on my car or home?
- What if someone falls on my property?
- What if hail damages my car?
- What if my home or vehicle are flooded, am I covered?
Understanding different scenarios will help you select the options that are best for you.
Understanding what is and isn’t covered under a policy is important. Some homeowners policies are “named perils” policies, while others are “all perils” policies. “Named perils” policies specify a list of things that are covered, and anything not specifically named is not covered, unless added by endorsement. “All perils” policies generally cover anything that can damage your home that is not specifically excluded in the policy. Endorsements are usually available that can expand what’s covered, such as adding coverage for jewelry, water damage, earthquake, mold, etc. Again, it’s best to talk to an agent if you have questions about what your policy does or does not cover.
Most homeowners policies do NOT cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a separate product, usually underwritten by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, through the National Flood Insurance Program. Some private carriers also offer flood insurance. You do not have to be in the flood plain to purchase flood insurance. Typically, there is a 30 day waiting period to purchase flood insurance, so plan ahead.
Commercial insurance has many of the same property protections available as homeowners insurance does in relation to Texas weather, although there are some unique coverages available to commercial policies. One such coverage is business interruption insurance. Business interruption insurance is a type of insurance that covers the loss of income that a business suffers after a disaster. The income loss covered may be due to disaster-related closing of the business facility or due to the rebuilding process after a disaster. This type of coverage is generally not sold as a stand-alone policy, but can be added onto the business' property insurance policy or comprehensive package policy such as a business owner's policy (BOP). Since business interruption is included as part of the business' primary policy, it only pays out if the cause of the loss is covered by the overarching policy.
Deductible amounts vary, and can affect the premium you pay, so you should consult with your insurance agent about what deductible amount is right for you.
“Actual Cash Value” vs “Replacement Cost”
The difference in what an insurance company will pay for your damaged home could be significantly different under an Actual Cash Value policy than a Replacement Cost policy. Your insurance company may offer both ACV and RC as options, or only one type. Check your coverage and make sure you understand what it means.
Replacement Cost compensates you for the actual cost of replacing property. If your camera is stolen, for example, a replacement cost policy will reimburse you the full cost of replacing it with a new camera of like kind. The insurer will not take into consideration wear and tear. Actual cash value is equal to the replacement cost minus any depreciation (ACV = replacement cost – depreciation). It represents the dollar amount you could expect to receive for the item, in this example, the camera, if you sold it in the marketplace.
Other Related Resources
Additional ICT Resource Pages