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5 Things You Should Know Before Making A Home Insurance Claim


restoration assessment

WINMAR® is a property restoration company that specializes in providing restoration services to homeowners and insurance companies in Kelowna, BC and the surrounding areas such as Lakecountry, Peachland, Bigwhite, Penticton, and Vernon. We have successfully completed 1000’s of insurance claims in the Okanagan and are looked at as a leader and community partner here to serve our customers.

If you are considering making an insurance claim, we are here to help. Nobody wants to make an insurance claim because that means you’ve suffered a loss. For most homeowners, the process is a bit of a mystery. Should I make a claim? Who should I call? What should I expect? And because of these questions, we’ve put together these five things you should know before you make an insurance claim.

# 1 Know Who You’re Calling

Marketing a brand is how companies become known. It’s the logo or jingle that sticks in your head and even before you think about them consciously, your subconscious kicks in and says call WINMAR® – or buy a Coke, depending on your need, emotions or craving at the time. This, however, isn’t the best way to choose a restoration company. Some restoration jobs can last weeks, months and, yes, even years. It’s not just a short term connection with an in and out service, such as carpet cleaning or window cleaning. In many cases, we form long-lasting relationships with our clients for this very reason. At WINMAR, our team is everything to us, and we have a great reputation of trust in the community. So before you find yourself in desperate need of one of our restoration services – like water damage or smoke removal – get to know us. Like our Facebook page and meet our team.

# 2 You Want a Project Manager – Not a Technician – First on Site

This is alone sets WINMAR apart from other restoration companies. We believe that in order to properly manage an insurance claim, for both the homeowner and insurance company’s benefit, a project manager should always be the first one on site.

There are two main reasons for this.

1.    Making an insurance claim can be very complicated. You need a professional to explain the process to you and walk you through each step. This is especially important during after-hours water damage emergencies because that is where the costs can quickly go up.

2.    Determining the cause of loss is not always as simple as a flooded basement, and the first thing your insurance company will want to know is what caused the damage? Our project managers know this and will help you source the root issue and document it in the right format for your insurance company.

Leaving these two things to an untrained technician can cause more stress and confusion to what can already be a sensitive situation.

# 3 Don’t Sign a Work Authorization Form Before You Understand the Next Steps

When our project manager arrives on site, there should be no pressure for you to sign a contract or work authorization until we understand exactly what needs to be done and can communicate that to you in a way you understand. Our main concern is your safety, our safety and what caused the loss. In order to do this, we follow a three-step process.

Step 1 – We do a site safety assessment. This might be a quick scan for common hazards like wet electrical, trip, slip or fall hazards or it might be more in-depth. For example, if we are attending a fire damage job, then we will most likely need to call an environmental hygienist to perform a hazardous material assessment for things like asbestos, lead paint or even mercury.

Step 2 – Cause of Loss. We need to determine exactly what caused the damage. Is it a broken water pipe, or a backed up sewer drain ? Even if it looks like it’s the drain, we may have to scope the line to determine if the line was blocked by tree roots, which occurred over a period of time, or was it caused by an object flushed down the toilet, in which case it would be a sudden and accidental backup. These details are very important when we provide our report to the insurance company. (Plumber tests in this example are not covered as part of our free inspection outlined below.)

Step 3 – Create a scope of work. Once we know what caused the loss, and what safety measures need to be put in place to protect you and our staff, we can then start building our plan in what needs to happen next. This becomes our scope of work. The scope of work might include floor protection, contents moved out, carpet drying and even some selective demolition to release trapped moisture.

All this information is important for you to know up front because you will want to know if you’re going to have to pay for this work or will it be covered by your insurance. We can’t confirm coverage on behalf of your insurance company, but we can provide you with the information they need to give you a quick decision.

# 4 Don’t Pay Your Deductible Up Front

This is obviously your choice, but at WINMAR, we believe that you don’t need to be hit up for your deductible right on the first call out. First off, many people don’t know or remember what the amount of their deductible is, and secondly, some insurance companies have what is called a vanishing deductible, which means if your claim exceeds a certain value your deductible disappears. It is our recommendation that you hold off on paying your deductible until after the emergency cleanup is complete and the repair estimate has been approved by your insurance company. It’s at this point you’ll know what the amount of your deductible is, if you owe it, and who it is payable to.

# 5 Get a Free Inspection! 

Not all companies offer free inspections, and some that do might not take them as seriously as we do. I have to be upfront in that our free inspection is limited, but the value that you do get from it can be the difference between you making a claim or not. Here’s what’s included in our free inspection.

  • We’ll send people you can trust and work with
  • We’ll send a Project Manager first (even at 1:00 am in the morning)
  • We’ll assess the damages, determine the cause of loss and provide a written report with pictures to your insurance company. Or, if we determine the value of the work is under your deductible, then you don’t even have to make a claim.
  • We won’t collect a deductible up front, and we will prepare you with all the information you need to get your home and life back to normal as quickly as possible.

To book a free inspection, call our helpline today!

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