Fire is one of the most common and devastating causes of property damage. In addition to damage from fire, smoke, soot and/or raw heat, there also may be problems resulting from the process of putting out the fire. Water and chemicals that might have been used can cause monumental damage to the building’s structure, electrical and heating or cooling systems. You can count on Chicago Adjusting to assist you during this stressful and confusing time. Our public adjusters will ensure that your fire damage claim is properly organized and submitted.
Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing an insurance claim:
Try not to disrupt the scene but make sure to prevent any further damage by having your property professionally boarded.
Take lots of pictures and/or videos. These will be used for reference by you and possibly needed as evidence for your claim.
Thoroughly list any and all damaged items before they are discarded. These must be catalogued to ensure that your insurance company will recompense for your loss fully.
Save the receipts of all expenses. Any and all expenses related to the fire need to be turned in with your claim.
Please remember that if your property is not safe to inhabit, your insurance policy will cover temporary relocation costs (hotel, storage, etc.).
Hopefully you will never find yourself staring at the fire-damage remnants of your home or business, but if you do, you can count on Chicago Adjusting to get your property back to its pre-loss condition.
If your home or business is a part of a multi-unit building or if a property directly near yours was damaged by fire, you should still have your own property professionally inspected. Your structure may have suffered damage from soot, smoke or heat that may not be immediately apparent.
Contact Chicago Adjusting for your complimentary, no-obligation property assessment to find out if your property qualifies for an insurance claim.
Water damage is usually caused by a burst or broken plumbing pipe, a break in a dishwasher hose, or a blockage in your plumbing system. As you may imagine, these events can lead to very costly damage on your property. Repairing such damage can also be an extremely tricky and difficult job. Chicago Adjusting’s knowledgeable staff will help you make the recovery process less confusing and much simpler.
When you discover water damage on your property, be sure to thoroughly document time, date and visible damage to the structure and your belongings. It is your responsibility as the insured to prevent any further damage to your property by shutting off the water supply and removing anything that has potential for mold growth. However, it’s important to remember that water may leak into various crevices causing additional damage that may not be immediately visible. Chicago Adjusting’s public adjusters are armed with professional tools that allow for the in-depth detection of any and all damage that the water has caused.
In the event of a severe water leak, a professional remediation company should be engaged as soon as possible to start the drying process and prevent any further damage. However, be sure to save any broken pipes or sprinkler heads just in case your insurance company wants to look at them to determine the exact cause of damage.
Flood can be a stressful and devastating event, especially when you realize that your home/business owner’s insurance may not cover the damages caused by it. Most insurance carriers require an additional (and quite expensive!) endorsement on your insurance policy to keep you covered for flood damage. Make sure to contact Chicago Adjusting so our specialists can determine your claim eligibility and offer expert advice on how to proceed with the recovery process.
If you live in low-lying areas prone to flooding it is better to protect yourself by following a regular maintenance schedule and keeping storm drains clear. Here are some tips for flood prevention as specified by the National Storm Damage Center:
Clean your gutters regularly to keep them free of leaves and other debris.
Check storm drains near your home or business and remove any debris that might accumulate there, about twice a year.
Make sure your window wells and basement stairwells are clean and functional.
Consider installing a sewer backflow valve.
If possible, have your water heaters, furnaces, washers and dryers elevated at least six inches above basement floors.
Raise electrical panel boxes, switches, and outlets at least one foot above the 100-year flood level. For help in determining the 100-year flood level in your area, check with local officials.
Cut drywall to at least one-half inch above the floor, especially in basements. Concrete floors commonly absorb ground moisture, which can travel up the wallboard and allow undetectable mold growth. Seal the gap between the wallboard and the floor with wood or rubberized floor trim.
Anchor a fuel tank by securing it to a large concrete slab or to ground anchors using metal straps.
Add waterproof veneer to exterior walls and seal all openings, including doors.
Use flood-resistant building materials – materials that can withstand direct contact with floodwaters for at least 72 hours without suffering significant damage. These are available at many home improvement stores.
Build interior and exterior floodwalls. A watertight masonry floodwall can be constructed to enclose furnaces, utilities and appliances on the lowest floor of the building. On the outside, a similar wall could be constructed around the perimeter of the basement opening to keep water from entering.
Mold is a live fungus, and in nature, it is an important part of the ecosystem, digesting dead matter and returning it to the soil as food for new plant and animal life. Mold in the home, however, is bad news.
Even if not always visible, mold damage that occurs as a result of flooding, plumbing problems or other water-related issues can affect your health and severely compromise your building. To prevent mold from returning, existing mold needs to be removed properly and the moisture problem that has caused it in the first place needs to be addressed.
If you suspect mold damage, you should immediately contact Chicago Adjusting so our knowledgeable public adjusters can get your mold claim settled fairly.
Damage caused by severe windstorms, wind-driven hail, flying debris and tornados results in billion dollar losses annually.
It’s usually best to report storm damage to your insurance company within one to two weeks of storm’s occurrence. Chicago Adjusting’s public adjustors will help you assess the damage and document your claim in order to maximize your settlement amount. If filed by an inexperienced individual, your claim may be denied, delayed or minimized by your insurer.
Your insurer will want to inspect the damage “as is,” so you should avoid any premature, do-it-yourself repairs as this could void your settlement eligibility or significantly minimize it.
Contact Chicago Adjusting if you suspect wind damage on your property so we can properly handle your claim from start to finish!
To protect your property from devastating damage during a windstorm:
Make sure to trim back your tree branches as to keep them away from the roof and large windows during severe windstorms. Broken tree branches can do a substantial amount of damage to your roof, windows and exterior.
If your area receives tornado or windstorm warning, make sure to secure storm shutters over panes of exposed glass, or use pieces of pre-measured, pre-cut plywood to protect your windows. To avoid damage from flying objects, try to also bring your outdoor furniture, toys, pots and gardening tools indoors.
If severe, a tornado can turn your life upside down in a matter of seconds and filing a claim with your insurance company to repair tornado damage can be a confusing and stressful process. Chicago Adjusting’s experienced public adjusters can help you recover quickly and painlessly. We will make sure that the damage is assessed properly so you receive a fair insurance settlement.
Most tornado damage is caused by high winds (up to 300 MPH!) and flying debris. To prepare your home for a tornado, make sure to keep the same precautions as when dealing with windstorms.
Since your structure’s roof is especially susceptible to tornado damage, here are some additional tips to reduce the extent of roof damage when tornado hits:
If your roof is covered with shake shingles you can reinforce them with extra nails.
Seal your slate shingles with cement or mortar.
Place a steel strap over the tile shingles or reinforce with mortar or cement.
According to National Storm Damage Center, hail causes approximately $1 billion in damage annually in the United States to houses, buildings, cars and crops.
Hail damage can either be quite noticeable or very difficult to detect, depending on hailstone size and the nature of damaged object. For example, if hail breaks your car’s windshield or dents its roof, the damage is obvious. On the other hand, damage to buildings is usually not as easy to identify and requires an experienced professional to adequately assess. Hailstones that measure 0.75 inches (the diameter of a penny) or greater can cause substantial damage to buildings, automobiles & property.
Hail damage is a difficult DIY repair project that could void your homeowner’s insurance or manufacturer warranty, if not performed by a licensed contractor. Your safest option is to have a licensed public insurance adjuster perform a full hail damage inspection on your property.
Roof and Skylight Damage: Roof is the most commonly damaged part of a home or business when hail hits. Hail damage to shingles can be difficult to detect but water may seep through causing additional damage to the roof deck, support structure, interior walls or windows, and can cause leaking, staining on walls and flooding inside your home.
In severe cases, hailstorm roof damage can lead to mold formation and wood rot, which can compromise the structural integrity of your roof resulting in collapse. Skylights that suffer cracks or dents due to hailstones can cause similar problems.
Window & Siding Damage: Heavy winds often accompany hail during a storm. When hail hits at an angle, it can cause cracks, dents and marks on your building’s windows and siding.
Other Types of Property Damage: Hail can also cause damage to trees, plants and other yard fixtures such as AC / HVAC units. Trees and tree branches may break and fall causing devastating damage. Also, when a large amount of hail and rain falls, flooding and damage from standing water may occur.
Every day homes and businesses fall victim of theft and vandalism.
Such events usually result in mess, chaos and can be so stressful that it’s often impossible for the owner to respond effectively. Not documenting the damage completely and properly can significantly decrease your settlement amount.
Therefore, it is exactly the kind of situation in which a public adjuster’s expertise will prove most beneficial.
Below outlined steps will help you organize and prepare for claim process:
1. Firstly, when you notice any sign of vandalism on your property and make sure that you and others are safe, CALL THE POLICE.
Even if the threat is long gone, your local 911 dispatcher can be a source of calming advice at a time when you will most likely be upset.
Also, an official police report is a crucial piece of documentation required by your insurance company when filing your claim.
2. Second, DO NOT CLEAN UP THE MESS.
Give the police a chance to investigate the scene as-is and gather useful evidence that might help capture responsible criminal(s).
Besides, your policy will cover the cleanup costs anyway so save your energy. For example, you may document and photograph the scene and if applicable, make a detailed list of missing items.
Also, refrain from any do-it-yourself repairs as this may void your claim’s eligibility or reduce your settlement amount.
If your property was badly damaged and is not safe to occupy, know that it is your insurance’s responsibility to cover temporary relocation and/or business interruption costs.
3. Last but certainly, not least: CONTACT A PUBLIC ADJUSTER ASAP TO HELP YOU FILE A PROPER INSURANCE CLAIM. It might seem like a first step to contact your insurance company but do not! At Chicago Adjusting, we know exactly how to handle your claim and maximize insurance payout. We realize that the act of vandalism can leave you quite vulnerable but you can be sure that our public adjusters we will work with your best interest in mind to get you a fair settlement.
A strike of lightning can trigger a devastating fire on your property.
Most lightning-type damage, however, results from an electrical surge that can short out your building’s electrical appliances and systems.
Also, your building may be indirectly affected by lightning if a nearby tree or fixture is struck and falls on your property. Filing a successful insurance claim for a lightning-related damage can be quite a challenging process.
Chicago Adjusting public adjusters can ease the burden for you by handling all the paperwork and eventually maximizing your settlement amount.
We will perform a comprehensive damage inspection, both on the interior electrical systems as well as to the structure itself to help you settle your claim and get you compensation you deserve.