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How the Insurance Claims Process Works

If you have suffered damage to your home, business, or personal belongings as the result of a national disaster you likely have many unanswered questions about how the insurance claim process works. Keep in mind that it is a process that needs to be worked through step-by-step, but there is plenty of assistance available to you through the NIRC and through the support of our Certified Contractor Members.

Step 1: Filling Your Insurance Claim

Before calling in your claim to the insurance company you want to locate your homeowner’s or business insurance policy and be sure to keep it a place you will remember. Your policy will have an area that will let you know what your deductible amount will be for future reference.

Next, you want to contact your insurance carrier. Many property owners find filing online faster, which avoids lengthy hold times. Most insurance companies have a claims department, not at your agent’s office, to file homeowner’s claims. Your insurance company will ask you for your policy number, type of damages and the date of loss so be sure to ask your NIRC rep for the correct date of loss to be given to the insurance company.

Record all the information your insurance company gives you. Your insurance company will be used to track your claim and assign an adjuster to your claim. Be sure to give the adjuster information as well as the claim number to your NIRC representative so they may contact the adjuster and schedule a field inspection.

Step 2: The Adjustment Process

During the adjustment inspection, your insurance company will assign a field adjuster who will visit the property to confirm our damage inspection results. The NIRC strongly recommends that our clients take advantage of our Certified Contractors ability to help with a successful claim settlement. For several months after the storm event the insurance adjusters are very busy. It is an important step that you as the property owner request they schedule the adjustment appointment with your NIRC Certified Contractor to ensure all damages are discovered and accounted for. During the time of inspection the NIRC Certified Contractor will present their inspection results and offer a detailed scope of the damages that need to be repaired or replaced on the property.

A detailed scope of damage is vital for a successful outcome in the insurance claims process. Our NIRC Certified Contractors know what it takes to complete you restoration project and will be sure the settlement includes everything you need to restore your property pre-damaged condition. The NIRC Certified Contractor you have selected will provide your insurance carrier with a full damage analysis and a damages scope report created with Xactimate which is the same estimating software used by most of the insurance companies to ensure your property is estimated properly with the most advanced technology available in the industry. By using technology, it helps ensures there are no discrepancies on the scope of the damages, which helps make the restoration process to be a successful project.

The property damage inspection is key in facilitating a proper scope of damages and an expedited claim process. The NIRC Certified Contractor will attend the insurance adjustment with your insurance adjuster in order to assist in the recording of the damages to the property and give the claim a second set of eyes. In the event your adjuster overlooks key damaged items or items that are required by building code enforcement, the NIRC Certified Contractor will be there to ensure proper settlement for the damages to the property.

An insurance claim summary will be presented by your insurance adjuster once the property adjustment is completed. The claim summary is an itemized scope of damages with market pricing allowances for each individual line item that needs to be addressed for the restoration of your property. Some adjusters present this before leaving the property with the first check while others mail it to you. It’s critical to present this to your NIRC Certified Contractor for review in its accuracy once you receive the insurance summary report. The NIRC Certified Contractor utilizes the exact pricing system your insurance carrier does so the purpose of reviewing their summary isn’t for pricing but to ensure they accounted for the proper line items and measurements are correct.

Step 3: Mortgage Companies on Insurance Drafts

On most insurance claims the insurance companies commonly assign the check as a two-party check by adding the mortgage carrier as a co-payee. Properties with a mortgage lien are entitled to secure funds in escrow or hold the funds until a contractor has been chosen for disbursement. This is done to ensure that the work is completed and the mortgage company’s investment is protected.

Dealing with the mortgage companies can be a time consuming and frustrating process. Most NIRC Certified Contractors have a designated employee which facilitates the document requirements needed to get the funds released by the mortgage provider but we may need a follow up call or two from you as you are the mortgage holder.

It’s crucial for you and your contractor to work together so you receive your funding in a timely manner.

Step 4: Supplements

There are times with the adjuster for the insurance company may have missed partial items or even entire trades. Not to worry, this is common in this industry. During a catastrophic storm, adjusters are pulled from all over the U.S. They may not understand local building codes or may also be new to the adjusting process.

In order for you NIRC Certified Contractor to ensure they provided you with the best products and craftsmanship possible, it is crucial your carrier covers the claim in full. Your NIRC Certified Contractor will supplement the claim for you. They employ a Supplement Claims Specialist to ensure your carrier covers the project step by step, never missing critical components in the process. Most items missed by the insurance carriers are simple oversights or building code enforcements that need to be added to the claim. Your NIRC Certified Contractor will contact your insurance company and provide evidence and estimates for those items to be accounted for. Your NIRC Certified Contractor utilized the same estimating software as your insurance carrier does in order to find common and fair market pricing for all restoration work that is needed at the property.

Step 5: Recoverable Depreciation

Most insurance companies apply depreciation to each item in the settlement. The easiest way to understand depreciation is to think of this as hold back for the difference in value of what your property is worth aged or damaged versus what it will be worth when it’s fully restored to pre-damaged condition. Your NIRC Certified Contractor performs the project based off the insurance company’s scope and pricing so that when the property repairs are completed, they can issue the proper invoice to your insurance company for you. When the final invoice has been presented on the project to the insurance company, they will release you the depreciation or hold back they applied in the insurance scope for the items repaired.

You will receive a call from your NIRC Certified Contractor stating the invoice has been submitted to your insurance company. When you receive this call we recommend to wait a few days and call your insurance company to ensure they have sent your final payment to you. In order for you to receive that depreciation amount in full, you must complete the claim in full and provide necessary invoices for the work. Your NIRC Certified Contractor send the necessary documents, certificate of completion, and the final invoice for you to the insurance company and they will place a follow up call to your insurance company to ensure they issue the final amounts of the claim owed to you. Once you receive the final payment, your NIRC Certified Contractor will come to your property and go over the final paperwork and warranties for all the work performed at the property.