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Tips for Architectural Assessments and Insurance Claims

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Working with your insurance provider is critical during the recovery process. To get you started, we have some claims tips and contact information for local insurers. 

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the claim. Insurers typically visit the most severely damaged areas first, so be prepared to provide an accurate description of any damages. Getting an architectural assessment done will help facilitate the process. An architect's assessment typically will be done in coordination with a cost estimator to help provide an accurate assessment of what it will take to repair and rebuild the structure to its original structural integrity.

Make sure to get a claim number and write it down since it’s the quickest and easiest way for insurance companies to locate your file, according to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). A good tips is to save the phone number of your architect who completed your architectural assessment, your insurance company and your claim number in your phone.

Document your losses with pictures and video, if possible, and include a list of damaged personal items. Architects use damage incident reports and accompanying architectural assessment survey reports to provide an accurate snapshot of the state of your property. If you'd like to learn more about OBMI's Damage Assessment services click here.

Keep good records of anything you spend for immediate repairs to secure your home, as well as receipts for hotels and meals if you can’t return home right away, CFA says. Original receipts are best but in case of flooding or lose keep a photocopy of the receipts in your phone.

Check with your insurance company before discarding damaged items. You typically need to show them to your adjuster, but if your municipality requires you to discard them for safety reasons, take photographs to help with claims. Working with your architect you can coordinate removing items for safety reasons while still ensuring they are properly documented.

Keep a claim diary. Start a notebook and electronic file with contact information of the people you deal with from your insurance company and lot each communication. Make a list of everyone you speak to and note the date, time and issues discussed and any action items for either you or the company for follow-up.

Utilize your mobile phone. In addition to using it to save important numbers, copies of receipts and for documenting damage your phone can serve as a great communication tool while other communication channels are down. Program your architect and insurance company's number into your phone. Encourage them to use text messages as it often works better than voice communications. Sign up for text alerts with your insurance companies if they offer SMS/text alerts. This can improve communication as they can notify you of the status of your claim. Companies that provide text alerts will send you messages when you first report your claim, when your estimate is available and when a payment has been sent.