Property Damage Claims Tips

notebook paper and penWhat is property damage? Property damage is an insurance policy which pays for damage caused to the property owner.  This can include home damage, damage to commercial buildings, material contents stored in property when the damage occurred, and vandalism.


I cannot stress enough how critical it is that you know what your policy does and does not cover before property damage occurs. It is an important step to make sure that you have enough coverage in the areas where your home or building may be most susceptible.  The environment in which your property rests must be taken into consideration when going over the types of coverage you  need.

Here are top property damage claims preparation tips to keep in mind:

Select proper coverage! This is  critical so make sure that your policy is thoroughly explained to you and that you understand all limitations and coverage. Make sure to have an amount that is an excess of what you own.  Remember that antiques are usually not covered in basic property insurance so if you own antiques you will want to get what is called a rider to add coverage in this area.  If you cannot get your insurance company to go over and explain your policy to you, a public adjuster here at Priority Adjusters will be more than happy to review this for you for free.

It’s important to keep your policy in line with updates to your inventory i.e., the latest purchases.  If you have an existing policy that you have not evaluated in sometime, it is recommended.  You can always get limit increases and more coverage if necessary.

  • Know what your policy deduction is.  Is it something you can actually pay if needed?
  • Basic home owner policies generally do not cover flood damage and earthquakes. Be sure to ask your carrier about this.
  • When Its Time To Call A Professional

Should you have an incident of property damage and need to file a claim you can find information about how to file a property claim here.  For the quickest results it is important you contact a professional public adjuster first.  A public adjuster is experienced in settling claims.  They will get your claim filed, come to your home to assess damage, take pictures if necessary and act as the second opinion necessary in receiving a proper settlement to your claim.  A public adjuster works with emergency restoration services on a regular basis so they can quickly get the ball rolling on repair and clean up.  Insurance companies generally expect to pay a higher cost for emergency services. Your contractor should bill them directly.

Remember, your insurance will pay the minimum on your claim unless they are properly challenged.  This is where having an insurance claims adjuster on your side is vital to your property damage claim. Your insurance company is under obligation to pay for your damaged property.  At the same time they are a business so they are in it to make money.  An independent property damage claim specialist such as a public adjuster will help immensely in this matter.

What To Look For In A Good Public Adjuster & What Is A Public Adjuster

While there are claims of what public adjusters can do for you, today we will also mention a bit about what they can’t do.   Public Adjusters can speed up claims processing and coordinate crucial services related to property restoration.  However, they cannot wave a wand and instantly solve all your problems immediately.  Certain aspects related to your claim may take more time than maybe Sara Jo’s claim, depending on the type of claim.  A public adjuster will save you valuable time and the chances of a claim filed by an adjuster as opposed to an individual tend to be much higher.  At the same time, there is no honest guarantee that the claim will be approved.  There are several elements of criteria that are used as assessment in your claim.  Because these factors vary from one spectrum to the other, processing time will also.  Victims of property damage  can get easily bombarded with the stress of trying to recover and reclaim balance after building damage,  fire damage, water damage, roof damage, or any other types of damage that befalls property owners such as vandalism.  That is where a public adjuster would help.  A good public adjuster can be a blessing in disguise or just another headache to the list.  The first thing you will want to do is make sure that he or she is licensed.  Licenses differ from state to state. You will want to make sure that the public adjuster is licensed for your state.  Adjusters can practice across multiple states but they will need a license for each state to do so.  Make sure your personal public adjuster is licensed and up to speed on the adjusting laws in your state.
It is important for public adjusters to not only be licensed but they should also have a level of computer competency.  He or she does not have to be a tech wiz but they should know their way around basic programs such as MS Word and how to do a simple search online.  In the world of technology there is information and transactions online that happen between insurance carriers.  Having  basic computer knowledge will go far in this regard.

Go with your instincts.  If your insurance adjuster seems that he/she can’t explain the process to you, is too pushy to get you to sign with him, or you feel unsure, you are probably are right.  Keep looking.  Public adjusters are business owner and property owner advocates.  You want someone sensitive to your issues and needs.  You also want someone who will efficiently handle your claims and work fast to get you what you need.

Important questions to ask:

  • What is the first step once we sign with you?
  • What type of delays should I expect?
  • How quickly will my claim be filed?
  • What is the average time frame to expect a settlement (nothing is in stone as each case is different, but if you know your adjuster has an idea, this can be helpful)
  • Who will be my point of contact for updates, etc. Is it you?
  • How soon (or often) will someone follow up with me?
  • Will I be kept abreast of changes in my case? If so, how? US Postal Mail, Email, phone?

A public adjuster should have keen information related to insurance claims help request such as what will be the estimate cost required to recover from physical damage, cost to build up a new roof, or any to the property for which a claim is being made. A public  adjuster’s job is to become the bridge between the insurance holder and the insurance firm. A public adjuster acts  on your behalf to carry out work from start to  finish until you, the owner, gets the appropriate claim amount. Many states keep regular test to renew the license so that the adjuster is equipped to handle the entire situation coming in the insurance industry.

Public adjusters can really make their value felt by the time the owner is saved as well as the insight that only adjusters have in dealing with insurance companies.   If you have sustained damage to your office building, are a victim of vandalism, or your home property has been devastated, things like relocation, and property restoration are things that can be overwhelming to set up.  Not to mention, you will still have to worry about your insurance carrier of whom I assure will try to undervalue your damage to their benefit.

If you have sustained damage to your building or residential property, call 310-890-8224. You can also contact us on the form to the right of this page.

We at Priority Adjusters will make your claim our “top” Priority.

How To Take Inventory For Your Business

Why is taking inventory for your business important? It’s because you never know when a disaster may strike.  In the event your business is damaged be it water damage, roof damage, vandalism or other you must have a proper inventory ready of the items in your care.  This is especially important for recovery purposes when it comes time to file your claim, for insurance, and for tax purposes.

It’s imperative that you make sure you keep a current business inventory.  This will help you immensely.    You will want  to purchase enough to replace all business inventory pertaining to what you do.   This will also help speed up settlement of our claim.

When it comes to how to start the process of taking inventory for your business, you have a few options in this regard.  You can simply have someone make a list in a notebook saving receipts to support purchases and photos in a file.  Or  if you wish to invest in easy to use software that can automate of the details in the process there are many software programs you can purchase to create detailed, organized, accurate and up to date records of each item.   With the click of your mouse, you can easily update  lists that you purchase, replace or eliminate.  The benefit of an online or computer record is that it can be housed virtually and backed up in many cases. You can scan some receipts, take digital photos to be housed on a server, etc.

Where To Start

Don’t be put  off by the seemingly arduous task of taking inventory, especially if it is something that has not been done for a long time or in some cases years.   Take it one step at a time.  You will want to first decide on a the method in which to record your inventory (software, online, manually) Go office by office or  room by room.   Take it category by category such as creating categories for “furniture” and “electronics”.  Start with the newest pieces of furniture or  items to the oldest or you may start from the most expensive purchases to the less expensive ones.  Whichever suits you best.

Depending on the insurance coverage you have, some items may need to be insured separately such as Key players in your company and any cash you may be keeping in the office for petty purchases.


Be sure to have photographs that accompany your inventory list. This can be done easily with a digital camera.  If you have a film camera you can scan printed photographs or have their film developer save the images to a disk.  Print photographs can still be stored  with a copy of your inventory.

The List

Some items below can be listed by the room in which they are likely to be found.  If you have a large number of  purchases of one type of item such as books, CDs, miscellaneous items you can make a general estimate of how many you have and what  their estimated value may be.

If you have sustained damage to your business or insured office building, we may be able to help.  Call us at 310-890-8224

Commercial Property Damage Around The World

Property damage has recently become a constant topic not just regionally, but globally.  No doubt you have either heard, read, or someone has been talking about the  massive earthquake that struck Darfield, New Zealand about 6 months ago on September 4, 2010.  The earthquake registered at a 7.1 magnitude.  Fortunately, there were not many houses that were not built with reinforced construction, so many fatalities were avoided due this precautionary measure.  Aftershocks continued for weeks on with the more notable and most recent 6.3 earthquake to that area which caused much damage to Christchurch, New Zealand.  They were not as fortunate as Darfield and did result in more fatalities and more property damage with several buildings that totally collapsed last month on February 22.  The structural damage caused is estimated from about $1.5 Billion to $2.5 Billion, U.S..  Not much later  (only 5 days later to be exact) Chile then had an earthquake that registerered at 8.8 on the Richter scale which is one of the strongest ever recorded in history before Japan’s quake.  That quake in Chile also triggered a Tsunami.  Then, on March 11 , Japan is hit with an 8.9 magnitude which is the the world’s fifth-largest since 1900 and the biggest in Japan in 140 years, also triggering a Tsunami extending to  the Pacific Ocean which extended to Hawaii bringing the Tsunami not only there but also to the West Coast which turned into high waves by the time it got to California’s coast lines.  This quake was so powerful that it  actually moved Asia several inches closer to the United States and much of Asia’s fish were swept to Mexico’s shores and fishing streams, which is  huge to say the least.

Now, while these events are all worrisome and devastating the question has come up…who’s paying for all of this? If you are a Californian you have no doubt had concerns about the likelihood of a quake coming to California as well.  If you have not obtained property earthquake insurance and the important riders necessary for aspects of damage your main policy may not cover, it is very important that you do so now.   The New Zealand risk management group, Risk Management Solutions (RMS)  said the estimate above does “cover damage to property – residential (including the losses covered by the Earthquake Commission and excess), commercial and industrial – as well as contents and motor. Fortunately New Zealand has stable companies in place to help cover the millions and billions needed for repair, but they cannot cover it all.  The Earthquake Commission is covering the residential portions.  However,  RMS’ estimate does not include losses resulting from damage to infrastructure and public buildings or to uninsured property which will obviously pose another problem.  Private business will also suffer greatly, no doubt.

Priority Adjusters is a fast growing public adjusting firm that deals in all types of commercial property damage, industrial damages, water flood damages and more.  Call or fill out the contact form to schedule an appointment with one of the best Public Adjusters in California.  Consultations are always free. Priority Adjusters fights for you to get you the settlement payment you deserve when damages occur.

Filing A Property Damage Claim

Public Adjuster Image

Do you have property damageBusiness property damage, commercial property damage, industrial property damage, and even home property damage is something no one or corporation is ever totally exempt from.  Natural disasters happen. Things eventually wear out and break down over time.  Vandalism and theft happens.  This is one of the many reasons property owners and homeowners purchase insurance.

If your home, business or industrial property has been affected by property damage or especially  water damage, many try to sort through all of the confusion themselves often settling for less without knowing there is someone to help.  If you have found yourself in a situation where you have sustained damage to your property, a Public Adjuster is the first person you need to speak with.  Why?

First, let’s go over some of what is involved when damages occur.  You will need to contact an emergency contractor.  Before the contractor arrives you will need to take lots of pictures and give an extensive account of all details you observe from the damage, so write everything down!

You will need to go back over your insurance policy to ascertain what is and is not covered.  Some types of property damage is not covered by all insurance so you will need to make sure of which policy covers the specific damages you have sustained, and proceed according to the proper contact(s).  It is not uncommon for some types of insurance to require a rider.

Next you will have to make many phone calls and in many cases wait on hold for an extended amount of time, deal with voicemails, no call backs, and run arounds to name a few.  Also, be expected to receive low-ball offers from the insurance company once the claim is filed and processed.  Be wary of these.  Many will offer you a partial check that states in legal terms that by expecting the low payment that you are agreeing to payment in full by cashing that check, so be careful!  However, there is no need become any more frazzled then you may already be from the damage.  A Public Adjuster will not only file your claim, get processing underway, but also assist in coordinating any contractors that need to be involved as well as other aspects of your case.  This is our specialty. We will advise you on all aspects of your damages and claim. We work hard to not only get you a quick payment, but on average it is much higher than anything the policyholder would receive on their own.

Here at Priority Adjusters, we have the experience and education in dealing with insurance so there are no missteps.  We are  highly trained  as to how to report claims so that it gets open and filed right away.  A Public Adjuster does not get paid until you do, so there is no reason not to give us a call.  For more info you may contact us here.

Water Damage Insurance Claims

Water Damage Insurance Hotline:

Hi, I’m John Morgenstern, President of Priority Adjusters, the premier Public Adjuster in California. You know, Water Damage is one of the most common claims on homeowner’s policies. Almost every day we get questions from clients like:

“John, I guess the cold water hose to my washing machine broke and water ran all through the laundry room and out into the hall. Will my insurance company blame me for not replacing the hose periodically?”

“John, our city sewer backed-up! It’s a mess. Do I contact the city or contact my insurance company to pay for the clean-up?”

“John, my roof leaked during yesterday’s storm. The wall by the fireplace is soaked? Should I call a contractor? Do I need to call my insurance company first? Will they call the contractor?”

My advice? – be careful how you report water damage to your insurer. While you must be truthful, of course, make sure you explain the situation with the right language. For example, don’t use the word “flood”. That may not be covered at all, while Water Damage from a sewer line or from a leaking pipe may be covered”.

You should call me right away to get help notifying your insurer and filing your claim…and for help using the correct terms to assure coverage is not limited or delayed.

Water Damage Insurance Hotline: