July 12, 2022
Written by Rich Lichtenfeld, American Church Group of Nebraska
The saying typically goes, “After the storm comes the calm” but in our realm of work it goes more like, “After the storm comes a claim.” A claim is fun for no one, but we are here to help. We are lucky enough to have Rich Lichtenfeld on our team who has handled property claims for the past 23 years before joining us at American Church Group.
We sat down to ask him a few of the most common questions he has gotten from home and business owners over the years.
What should a customer do if they think they might have roof damage after a recent storm?
Get out and inspect the exterior of your church building from the ground. Take notes and photos of any obvious damage and consider making temporary repairs if there is a concern of leaking or further damage. If you need assistance with temporary repairs, contact your locally trusted contractor to help you, but do not make permanent repairs if you are planning to file an insurance claim. If the damage is widespread or severe, contact your agent right away to start the claims process.
Here are a few steps that you can take in the event of a storm:
Make note of the date and time of the storm.
Take photos of the damage to the building before cleanup of debris. Note which direction the storm came from based on damage to sides of the building, plants, etc. If hail stones are still present and it is safe, take pictures showing the size of the hail stones.
Make temporary repairs to holes in roofs or broken windows to prevent further damage. Keep receipts and photos to show your insurance adjuster.
Contact your insurance company. Provide them with the details of the date/time of loss, type of damage noted, information regarding any temporary repairs, and information on any contractor's involvement.
If you are unsure if the damage is severe enough to file an insurance claim, contact your locally trusted contractor to inspect the damage. Keep in mind you should not sign a contract with a contractor until you know for sure what your insurance company is paying for. Furthermore, there is no need to give payment or a deposit on repairs until you have an agreement with your insurance company, so do not feel rushed to sign anything or pay at this point.
Ask your contractor for proof of insurance and bonding and feel free to contact the Better Business Bureau to find out more about them before making your decision on whom you hire.
Why is it important to have a claims adjuster inspect rather than calling a contractor first?
In situations where there is obvious damage, filing the claim right away will speed up the process. Once you have your insurance adjuster’s estimate of damage and a breakdown of the covered repairs, you will be in a better position to select the necessary contractor(s). If you truly do not know if you want/need to file a claim, give your agent a call to talk it over. This may be the time to have your locally trusted contractor take a look prior to filing a claim. A good contractor will give you an idea of the extent of damage and may help you determine if you need to file a claim.
What if someone stops by my ministry and says they can inspect for damage and will work with our insurance company for me?
While a “free” inspection may seem harmless, it is always best to be in control of who comes out to your property. Remember, there is never a need to sign any agreements to allow someone to inspect your property as these agreements could be a veiled contract. If you decide you want to have a contractor inspect your property, check with your agent, family, friends, or neighbors for a locally trusted contractor they have used in the past.
Be sure to reach out to our service team if you have any questions regarding your options when it comes to filing a claim. We are here for you, and we have your back! You can reach them by phone at 877-794-2330 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rich Lichtenfeld – Account Executive
Rich Lichtenfeld serves as an Account Executive for the American Church Group of Nebraska. Together, their team serves and insures around 3,000 ministries across six states.
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