What do I need to do if I have a disaster?
Call Disaster Team! We are available 24/7/365 to respond to your emergency.
Does Disaster Team work with my insurance carrier?
Disaster Team works with property owners insured by all insurance carriers.
Does Disaster Team work for my insurance company?
No. Disaster Team works for you. Disaster Team is not owned by or affiliated with any insurance carrier, but does work for property owners insured by all insurance carriers. With your permission, we will collaborate with you and your insurance carrier to reach an agreement to properly restore your damaged property. However, we participate in preferred contractor programs with several different insurance carriers. These programs require us to meet rigorous requirements including documenting experience in restoring properties, maintaining proper insurance coverage for the work we complete, providing references regarding the quality of our workmanship, maintaining industry recognized restoration certifications, meeting financial quantifications as well as other requirements. Although we participate in these preferred contractor programs, we work for the property owner.
How do I file an insurance claim?
Most insurance carriers have several different ways you can contact them to file a claim:
- Contact your agent – Your local agent will be able to assist you in filing your claim and answering basic questions you have regarding the claim process
- Toll free claims hotline – Most carriers have 24 hour claims hotlines you can use to file your claim. You will need your policy number and identification information to provide the customer service representative
- Online – Many carriers have online services where you can file your claim. You will usually need your policy number and other identification to establish an account to enable you to file your claim
It is always a good idea to obtain photographs or video of the damage immediately after it occurred. Disaster Team employees will also obtain photographs of the damage prior to beginning any work to ensure you have proper documentation to support your claim.
How does the claim process work?
It depends on your insurance carrier. Generally speaking, your insurance carrier will handle your claim in one of the following ways:
- Some carriers will enable your agent to handle your claim in certain situations. Agents typically handle small, non-complex claims only
- A claim representative or team of representatives in a centralized claim handling unit will handle your claim. The claim representative will request information from you and Disaster Team to document the damages and establish the repair cost. Sometimes a local claim representative or independent claim representative will complete an on-site inspection and provide information regarding the damages to the claim representative in the centralized unit
- A local claim representative will handle your claim. Your local claim representative will schedule a time to meet with you to discuss the claim process, explain your policy coverage, and document the damages to your property
Regardless of which method your insurance carrier uses to handle your claim, Disaster Team will provide documentation of the damages and a detailed estimate of the cost to restore your property to you and your insurance carrier.
Is my loss covered by my insurance policy?
Your insurance carrier will be able to answer any questions you have regarding your policy. Disaster Team representatives are not authorized to provide any specific information regarding your insurance policy coverages. It is a good idea to have an understanding of your policy coverages before beginning the repairs to your property so you know whether the insurance carrier will pay for the repairs.
I hear Disaster Team does good work, but is more expensive than other contractors. Is that true?
Our goal is to provide high quality service at a fair price. We utilize Xactimate® software to estimate the cost of repairing most structural damage. Xactimate® is used by many insurance carriers (including 22 of the top 25 insurers) and restoration contractors across the US. This means that it is very unlikely we use the same pricing structure as the claim representative who will be handling your loss! Generally speaking, if we agree on the scope of the repairs that need to be completed with you and your adjuster, the cost of the repairs will also be agreeable.
Do I need to obtain estimates from different contractors before hiring Disaster Team?
Claim representatives encourage policyholders to hire reputable insurance restoration contractors who are familiar with the specialized techniques of restoring properties damaged by various perils. Disaster Team specializes in insurance restoration and we utilize Xactimate® to complete repair estimates. This is the same estimating software and pricing structure as most insurance carriers, so it is not necessary to obtain estimates from different contractors before hiring Disaster Team.
Is it OK to start the work before my adjuster inspects the damage?
Most insurance policies include language that requires property owners to make reasonable repairs to avoid further damage to the insured property in the event of a loss. it is acceptable to remove non-salvageable building materials, remove water, dry the structure, complete temporary roof repairs, remove trees from structures, and complete other emergency repairs prior to the adjuster’s inspection as required by most policies. As outlined above, it is important to understand your policy coverages to avoid any unexpected out-of-pocket expenses since you are responsible for paying your deductible as well as the cost of any work completed by Disaster Team that is not covered by your insurance policy.
What is a deductible?
A deductible is the property owner’s share of the cost of the repairs related to a loss covered by an insurance policy. Deductibles generally range from $250 to $5,000+ depending on the cause of the loss and the deductible selected by the property owner when the agent issued the policy. Some deductibles are a percentage of the coverage limit for the damaged property. For example, a 1% deductible on a $200,000 dwelling would be $2,000. After reaching an agreed cost of repair, the insurance carrier will issue payment for the cost of the repairs less the applicable deductible. The property owner pays the deductible to the contractor who completes the work if the deductible was subtracted from the cost of the repairs to be completed by the contractor.
Will Disaster Team waive my deductible?
Disaster Team will bill the property owner for all work completed on their property. The property owner is responsible for paying their deductible and any other cost not covered by the insurance carrier. We cannot waive your deductible, but you may be able to reduce the total repair cost by completing a portion of the work yourself, selecting materials that are less expensive than the damaged materials, or electing not to complete a portion of the repairs not included in the estimate. Your estimator and claim representative can discuss the details with you.
What is depreciation?
Depreciation is the decrease in value of an item caused by wear and tear, decay or decline in price. Insurance policies often include loss settlement provisions that include application of depreciation based on the age and condition of the damaged item immediately before the loss occurred. Depreciation (sometimes referred to as “holdback”) is deducted from the total cost of the repairs required to restore the insured property. There are two forms of depreciation:
Recoverable depreciation – Policies with loss settlement provisions including recoverable depreciation are often referred to as replacement cost policies. Insurance carriers typically issue an actual cash value (ACV) payment after establishing the repair cost. The actual cash value is calculated by deducting the applicable depreciation from the replacement cost value (RCV – the total cost of the repairs). Depreciation withheld on a replacement cost policy is often recoverable if the property owner completes the repairs within a specified time frame, provides documentation showing the work has been completed (a signed Certificate of Completion) and provides documentation of the cost of the repairs (a repair estimate and corresponding invoice). The amount of depreciation recovered depends on the actual cost of the repairs since the insurance carrier is only obligated to pay up to the actual incurred cost of the repairs.
Non-recoverable depreciation – Depreciation applied on actual cash value policies is not recoverable. If all of the repairs required to restore the property are completed, the property owner will be responsible for payment of the depreciation in addition to any applicable deductible.
It is important to ask your claim representative whether your policy provides replacement cost or actual cash value coverage for the items involved in your loss.
Why is my mortgage company included on the payment for the repairs?
Most insurance policies include a clause that protects the mortgage holder on your property in the event that a payment is issued for a loss covered by the policy. This means that the claim representative will include the mortgage holder’s name on payments for repairs. Disaster Team will assist you in working with your mortgage holder to make payment arrangements. We typically need to provide an authorization signed by you to your mortgage holder giving us permission to speak with their representatives so we may assist you with the process. Mortgage holders will often deposit the funds in an account and issue payments upon completion of defined stages of the repair project. They will often send an inspector to verify each stage of completion prior to issuing payment. The process sound complex, but Disaster Team is familiar with the process and will assist with each step.
Who selects the floor coverings, paint colors, light fixtures, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, and other items that will be installed at my property?
The property owner is responsible for selecting materials to complete the repairs. Your estimator will provide information regarding the materials you will need to select after completing estimate for the work at your property. It is essential to select materials quickly to avoid delays in completing the repairs at your property. It is essential to select materials quickly to avoid delays in completing the repairs at your property. For example, the time between placing the order and delivery of cabinets is often 4 to 8 weeks! We request that you select items that are similar to the damaged items. You may upgrade any items as long as you pay the additional cost associated with the upgrade. Generally, the repair estimate includes the cost of the materials and labor, so we will purchase the materials after you have made your selections. You will need to provide the store name, item number, description, and other information pertaining to each item you select to your estimator so a Disaster Team representative can make arrangements to purchase the items.
What if I want to have some additional work completed or change the types of materials being installed at my property?
Your Disaster Team estimator will work with you to provide the cost of any change you would like to make to your property while the repairs are underway. We provide information regarding the difference in cost to you so you can make an informed decision prior to beginning any additional work. If the change results in an increase in cost, we generally request a payment of 50% of the additional cost prior to beginning the work with the remaining balance due on completion.
How will you access my property during the repair process?
We will make arrangements with you to access your property to complete the work. Some property owners prefer to be at the property at all times when we are working. Others prefer to provide a key that we can place in a code access key box at the property so we can gain access as needed. We strive to work with you to make the most convenient access arrangements.
You dried my property quickly, but it appears that little work is being completed to restore my property?
We strive to keep our projects running on schedule, but there may be times when it appears that little work is being completed.Delays can result from working with your claim representative to reach an agreed cost of repair, waiting for the materials selected to complete the repairs to be shipped from the supplier or waiting to achieve the appropriate drying or curing time for certain materials. The steps involved in certain repair processes may require drying or curing time. For example, drywall repairs often require multiple trips for finishing since drying time is required for the compounds used to finish the drywall. A drywall installer may be at your property for less than an hour sanding and applying an additional coat of compound. Your Disaster Team estimator and project manager will explain the repair process and keep you informed regarding the process of the repairs.
Can I complete a portion of the work myself?
Disaster Team specializes in coordinating your repairs and keeping your project on schedule. We encourage our customers to take full advantage of our services, including our guarantees and warranties. However, it is sometimes possible to allow you to complete a portion of the work yourself. Consideration should be given to how the work you are planning to complete will affect the project schedule, the impact on our guarantees and warranties, and compliance with all applicable building codes. Your estimator will be able to discuss this with you in detail.