FEDweek

Take Care in Responding to Property Damage

Auto and homeowners insurance policies might require you to make temporary repairs to protect your property from further damage. Your policy should cover the cost of these temporary repairs, so keep all receipts.

Also, maintain any damaged personal property for the adjuster to inspect. If possible, take photographs or video of the damage before making temporary repairs. Other tips:

* Don’t make permanent repairs. An insurance company may deny a claim if you make permanent repairs before the damage is inspected.

* Estimate costs. Determine what it probably will cost to repair your property before you meet with the claims adjuster.

* Document prior outlays. For home damage, provide the claims adjuster with records of any improvements you have made to your property.

* Get the facts. Ask the claims adjuster for an itemized explanation of the claim settlement offer.

If the first offer made by an insurance company does not meet your expectations, be prepared to negotiate to get a fair settlement.