After thoroughly documenting damage, take reasonable steps to avoid further destruction to your home or belongings. Policies call this mitigation. Make temporary repairs, such as covering a hole in your roof or boarding up broken windows. Insurance will typically reimburse the cost of these repairs as part of your claim, assuming the loss was covered. Your company may also reimburse you if you need to find temporary lodging or storage for your possessions. Keep a record of all receipts.
Be cautious about signing an Assignment of Benefits
- You have just experienced significant storm damage to your property, and you need to be careful not to sign over your benefits. Some contractors may ask for permission to speak on your behalf with your insurance company. Before you sign, read the fine print. Otherwise, you may inadvertently sign over your benefits and any extra money allowed to you after your claim.
- An Assignment of Benefits, or an AOB, is a document signed by a policyholder that allows a third party—such as a water extraction company, a roofer or a plumber—to "stand in the shoes" of the insured and seek direct payment from the insurance company. Once it is signed, any rights or benefits of the policy will go to that third party. So, if it costs $2,000 to repair your roof and your claim is more than that, technically that third party is entitled to the rest of that money.
- You are not required to sign an AOB to have repairs completed. You can file a claim directly with your insurance company, which allows you to maintain control of the rights and benefits provided by your policy in resolving the claim.