By now flood waters from Hurricane Harvey have receded in much of Houston, however there are still areas with standing water or debris blocking entry into properties. If you’re unable to safely access your home to assess the damage, you may think you must wait to file your claim until you can obtain pictures to submit. Good news - you don’t.
Related: What to do for uninsured, flooded rental properties
File Now, Add Pictures Later
You can file a written notice of your claim as soon as you’re aware of damage to your property, even if you don’t know the extent of the damage, and submit pictures later when you're able to capture them. Besides, with the onslaught of claims being filed, it will likely take days for an insurance adjuster to arrive anyway. That aside, the sooner you file your claim, the sooner you get your money and the sooner you can get back to normal.
Pro Tip: Hire a public insurance adjuster
When you file a claim, your insurance company will send out one of their adjusters to calculate the damage, so why would you want to hire a public insurance adjuster to file a separate report, too? Well, these adjusters work on commission, usually about 10%. If your insurance company’s adjuster says the damage to your property is $100k and the public adjuster evaluates it as more, the public adjuster will get paid (10%) of any increased amount paid to the insured (you) over the original $100k. The insured walks away more than the original quote of $100k.
- Insurance company adjuster reports $100k
- Public adjuster reports $130k
- Insurance company pays $120k
- Public adjuster makes $2k (10% of 20k difference)
- Insured receives $118k, $18k more than they would have without the public adjuster
Related: Hurricane Harvey leaves you with a damaged rental: What about your tenants?