Posts Tagged ‘covered insurance claim’

Keeping A Claim Diary

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

If you have a small claim, you may not ever really need a claim diary. Good note taking and an organized file can help keep facts straight, document phone calls, hold important correspondence and policy information, and whatever repairs need to be made. However, if you have a large loss, you will want to keep a notebook or diary to help you through the claims process. If you hire a professional such as a Public Adjuster or Contractor, this can also help them in assisting YOU.

Facts surrounding the loss are obvious notes to include in your diary. You will want to have all your information handy and in one spot. Policy numbers, phone numbers for your agent and claims adjuster, fax numbers for submitting documents, email addresses, your declaration page..these are all important to include. A binder is a great option and will help keep you organized.

As you move through the claims process, you may need estimates for repair from more than one contractor. Keep these together along with contact information in your binder so that they are easy to find.

If contents or personal property needs to be addressed, you will be asked for an inventory list. You will want to maintain a section strictly for this purpose and you may want to get yourself a small pocket note pad to keep on you when you are out. Often you will remember items you had while you are out shopping or attending to daily life and it is always best to do it “on the spot” rather than waiting until later. Enlist the help of family and friends who may have photos from holidays and time spent at your home. This can also jog your memory when attempting to create your list. Credit card companies may have statements that can also provide assistance.

If you have been displaced and are staying at a hotel or a friend’s or family member’s home, you need to keep track of your expenses. Food, clothing purchases, toiletries purchased..keep all receipts in your binder and document them!

I have had many clients who have forgotten to get a receipt here and there, or have not documented items properly and it creates a lot more work and costs time to try to catch up later. Don’t overlook the small stuff!

It is easy to become overwhelmed and large losses are stressful, but good record keeping will assist you and, if you hire one, your Public Adjuster to get you to settlement a little more easily.

If you have any questions concerning a claim, you can always reach out to me by phone at 570-730-8607, or by email at michelle@michellemurphypublicadjuster.com. I service Northeastern Pennsylvania which includes Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Poconos, the Slate Belt, Lehigh Valley and areas further south toward Philadelphia.

Find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Michelle-Murphy-Public-Adjuster-186668698043821/

On Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/michellelmurphy

On Twitter https://twitter.com/ClaimHelp4You

Puffbacks

Monday, December 7th, 2015

A Puffback is a misfire in your furnace that can send soot throughout your home. Puffbacks occur most often in winter and can cause a light coating to a heavy amount of soot throughout your home. Forced air systems “push” the soot causing a more substantial coating.

It is very important to have your system serviced annually in the fall. This proves maintenance should you have an insurance claim due to Puffback. Have your service provider write a report to detail the cause of the misfire and the parts that needed to be replaced. Keep the parts! This is important because failure to provide the parts for inspection can set you up for denial of a claim.

Take a deep breath, Puffbacks can cause a foul odor in your home. Exterior walls may show nail pops more clearly. Ceilings may have visible “stripes”. The coldest parts of your home will show soot more clearly. Check around the returns and registers for soot. You may also see “dark cobwebs”, which aren’t cobwebs at all, they are smoke webs and are black!

Public Adjusters use what is called a “chemical sponge”, also known as a soot smoke eraser sponge, to find soot in your home. Don’t let the name “chemical sponge” scare you! There are no chemicals in the sponge! It is highly porous and captures soot in the sponge when swiped properly over a surface.

Soot is very acidic and damaging, especially to textiles such as upholstered furniture, drapes, clothing, etc. Exposed food will need to be discarded, but be sure to photograph it and document it beforehand. Service professionals may be needed to handle the cleaning if there is heavy soot or if the loss is large. It is very important to handle these types of losses properly so you aren’t breathing in soot and you may need to stay somewhere else temporarily if the Puffback is bad enough.

I hope this information has helped shed some light on what a Puffback is and how to spot soot damage. If you or someone you know has experienced a loss due to Puffback, know that it is your right to talk to and/or hire a Public Adjuster.

Pipe Freeze – Prevention

Friday, January 9th, 2015

During harsh winter days when temperatures drop, it is important to understand how to deal with frozen pipes and thus prevent having to file an insurance claim. Water expands as it freezes which puts pressure on pipes. Pipes that freeze most often are exposed to severe cold such as outdoor hose bibs, water sprinkler lines, water lines in unheated areas such as basements and crawlspaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes in exterior walls with little or no insulation are also vulnerable.

To prevent freezing water lines during winter it is best to take precautions in Fall. Steps you can take to protect your lines are:

Drain water from sprinkler and swimming pool supply lines. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Remove hoses from outdoor faucets, drain them and store for next season.  Close inside calves that supply outside hose bibs. Drain the line by leaving the tap open.

Check for lines in unheated areas and be sure to insulate them. Places to check are basements, crawlspaces, attics, garages and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. If you have a whirlpool tub with an access panel, you will want to open it and check those lines as well. Be sure to insulate both hot and cold water pipes.

Hardware stores carry products specifically for insulating pipes. “Pipe sleeves”, “Heat Tape”, and “Heat Cable” are all great products. In a pinch, newspaper can be used to offer some protection, however, it is always best to use the proper insulating product.

During extremely cold days you can open kitchen and bathroom cabinets which will allow warmer air to circulate around your pipes.  If you have pets or small children you will want to move any chemicals from the cabinets to a safer location. You can also let the cold water drip from your faucet to prevent the pipe from freezing. A very slow trickle will do. Keeping your garage door closed will help to keep the worst of the cold out.

Maintaining heat is essential! Keep your thermostats set to the same temperature. Heating costs can be brutal during winter months, but they are preferable to having multiple pipe breaks throughout your home! If you will be away during cold weather, keep your thermostat at a MINIMUM of 55 degrees. Most thermostats have a margin of error in relation to actual temperature and that can vary by as much as plus/minus 11 degrees! This is especially important with regard to insurance. Not providing adequate heat can get a claim denied if you do have a frozen pipe burst.

I hope this information is helpful to you. A little planning and prevention can help you avoid a costly headache. Winter months can be a bear, but by taking the necessary steps to prevent pipe freezes, you increase the chance that you and your family will spend those months warm and cozy in your home.

If you find yourself with any claims questions, whether from this type of loss or any other, please remember I am here to help you. I am Michelle Murphy, licensed and bonded Public Adjuster in the State of Pennsylvania. I have been working in this industry for six years in the Pocono, Slate Belt and Lehigh Valley regions. I look forward to helping you with your claim. Feel free to call me at 570-730-8607 if you have any questions concerning damage to your home or business.  Come visit me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michelle-Murphy-Public-Adjuster/186668698043821 for more tips and to see photos of losses that I have serviced.

 

Your Grill Can Ruin Your Day And Your Siding: How a Public Adjuster Can Help!

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Happy Spring everyone! With such lovely temperatures a lot of homeowners are pulling out lawn furniture from storage. The star attraction of any beautiful sunny day is a cookout featuring The Grill. Whether you prefer gas or charcoal, you really want to think about the placement of your grill while in use and during cool-down especially if you have vinyl siding. If you have painted metal siding you also want to be cautious as temperatures and smoke can damage your finish.

Did you know that damaged siding from your grill could be a covered claim? If you have an all risk policy, you are covered for everything unless it is specifically excluded, and that includes melted siding from your grill. However, before you runt o file a claim, you want to know your deductible. You will also want to have the damage assessed. A Public Adjuster can take a look at your damage at no out of pocket cost to you. A Public Adjuster will let you know whether it is a good idea to file a claim or not.  I know most people just read that statement and they’re thinking, “if I have damage, shouldn’t I file a claim?” The answer is maybe. Many factors come into play in a scenario like this. How much siding is affected? Is there scorched decking? Is the siding type available? Is the color available? Are there any “breaks”? Do you have prior claim history? If all this has you scratching your head, you are not alone! A Public Adjuster can answer these questions and give you the information you will need to make an informed decision.

If you find yourself with any claims questions, whether from this type of cause of loss or any other, please remember I am here to help you. I am Michelle Murphy, licensed and bonded Public Adjuster in the State of Pennsylvania. I have been working in this industry for four years in the Pocono, Slate Belt and Lehigh Valley regions. I am pleased to be a part of one of the largest companies in Pennsylvania, Citizens Public Adjusters, and look forward to helping you with your claim. Feel free to call me at 570-730-8607 if you have any questions concerning damage to your home or business.  Come visit me and “Like” me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michelle-Murphy-Public-Adjuster/186668698043821

Winter Fires and Safety

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Did you know that  fires are more prevalent during winter months. The main cause for this is the increase in heating use and cooking. Cooking is the leading source of residential fires. Fires occur most often in the early evening hours and peak between 5pm and 8pm. Other causes of fires during winter months are electrical, heating, holiday decorations, winter storms, and candles.

There are some basic safety tips you can follow to help prevent fires in your home. We’ll address them one at a time over the next several blog posts. The first we’ll address is cooking fires and safety in the kitchen. First, I’ve said it many times but it bears repeating. You must have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and you must know how to use it. When you are cooking do not wear loose clothing. You also want to keep kitchen towels, sponges, paper towels and potholders away from your stove. Other items that could catch fire are food packaging, wooden utensils and curtains. Be sure your stove is plugged directly into the outlet. Never use an extension cord for your appliances. Next, be alert! Never leave cooking food unattended. Oils are highly flammable. If you are cooking and your pan catches fire put a lid on it immediately. It is a good idea to keep a lid nearby with an oven mitt just in case. Once the lid is on, turn off the heat and do not uncover until the pan has cooled completely. Likewise if your oven catches fire, turn off the heat and do not open. Let the oven cool down completely before you open it. The most important tip here is to know when to get out of the house. It is always better to be safe and call for help if a fire doesn’t seem manageable. Things can be replaced, people can’t.

Smoke damage from a fire can be just as bad as actual fire damage. Smoke residue is acidic and can damage fibers. Smoke and soot in air ducts can be recycled through your home heating/central air systems causing continual damage over time if remediation is not done. Smoke and soot behind walls can leave an odor since it can penetrate into porous surfaces. Remediation is necessary to eradicate this problem as well.

Suffering property loss from a fire can be overwhelming and stressful to say the least. No matter whether it is a localized kitchen fire or a total loss, always remember that there is someone here to help you get through the claims process. My role as a Public Adjuster is to take the burden off you and process the claim on your behalf. We meet with your insurance adjuster, document the scope of the damage, inventory your personal belongings and fight for a settlement that is fair and within the limits of your policy. We’re with you every step of the way to help you so that you can get back to what is important,,living your life.  If you have any questions or if you would like a free policy review, I can always be reached on my direct line at 570-730-8607. You can also find me on Facebook here http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michelle-Murphy-Public-Adjuster/186668698043821.

 

 

 

Happy New Year! Out with the old and in with the new!

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Happy New Year! It is a brand new year and that means cleaning out the old and bringing in, or celebrating, the new! January is one of those months that find us all inside looking for things to do while the weather outside is not so pleasant. Holiday decorations are taken down and stored, and we try to reclaim our space by clearing out those things that no longer serve us. While packing your decorations, make sure to look them over for signs of wear.

Did you know light strands older than three years cause most fires? If you do have older strands be sure to check them over for nicks and frays. Do not ever splice your light strands. If you check with your trash hauler you may be able to take those old lights and stick them in your recycle bin! So while protecting yourself from a potential fire hazard and a homeowner’s insurance claim, you are also doing something good for the environment!

While you’re at it, be sure your smoke detectors are functioning and have fresh batteries. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Also be sure you know your basic fire safety. By doing these few small things you are helping your family to be safe. Here’s hoping we all have a safe and (claim-free) Happy New Year! From the Poconos to the Slate Belt, I’m here to help you!  Feel free to contact me at 570-730-8607.  Click here to find me on Facebook as well http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michelle-Murphy-Public-Adjuster/186668698043821.

 

Insurance Claims and Your Responsibilities-How a Public Adjuster Can Help You

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Did you know that every policy holder has certain contractual rights and responsibilities after a loss occurs and not fulfilling your obligation as per policy provisions can negatively affect your settlement and even allow the insurance company to deny your claim? That’s right, you can be denied your claim just because you reported the cause of loss incorrectly.  If you have water in your basement for example, does that mean it is “flooded”? Not necessarily. The question I always ask is, “where did the water come from”? As a Public Adjuster we perform a thorough inspection and take the time to speak with the client about what happened. Once we get the facts straight we can then determine the proper cause of loss, thus avoiding an error in reporting the claim to your insurance company.

Do you know what your obligations are when a loss occurs?  Do you know all the contractual rights and responsibilities of your insurance policy? It is the homeowner’s responsibility to “mitigate” the loss. This means to stop the damage from happening further. If you have a burst pipe and water is flooding your kitchen, for example, you need to call a plumber to find the leak and make the repair. It is also important to separate wet items from other items so that other furniture, clothing, carpet, etc do not also become wet. Sometimes it is necessary to bring in a remediation company. You are also responsible to report the loss in a “timely manner”.  I’ve come across homeowners who did not know they had a covered claim and so they attempted to handle the damage themselves. The lag time between the date of loss and when it is reported can cost you money! A Public Adjuster can help you determine whether damage is covered and can report it in a timely manner if it is covered.

If this all has you scratching your head, you are not alone! I can help you by answering any questions you may have concerning a property loss claim you may have in process or one that has even been denied. Feel free to contact me at 570-730-8607. From the Poconos to the Slate Belt, I’m here to help you! Feel free to check me out on Facebook as well.