FAQ’s For Property Damage Repairs and Home Insurance Claims

FAQ's For Property Damage Repairs and Home Insurance Claims

We’ve put together a list of FAQ’s for property damage repairs and home insurance claims, to help with any questions you may have. We know dealing with an insurance claim can be overwhelming and confusing. So, if you’re making a claim for the first time, don’t worry, IC Assist are here to help.

Our Claims Manager will not only talk you through the whole claim process. But he will also discuss what to expect from everyone involved in settling your claim and restoring your property. He will also read through your policy wording and explain what your policy covers you for.

Please feel free to have a browse through the below list of the most commonly asked questions about IC Assist’s service and about making a claim.

FAQ’s For Property Damage Repairs – Important questions that not many people don’t know the answer to:

I’ve had a leak and the surface of my flooring doesn’t look damaged. How do I know if there’s water trapped underneath?

It is possible for water to get trapped underneath all types of flooring, without showing any signs of damage on the surface. That’s why, as part of our water damage assessment, our surveyor uses a Protimeter to check moisture levels underneath flooring. This is a non-destructive method that allows us to see what’s going on, without having to unnecessarily lift or remove your flooring. It is standard practice for us to carry out these checks on any flooring near to the escape of water.

There have been many instances where IC Assist overturned wrongfully declined water damage flooring claims. Here are links to just two examples of claims that we got approved thanks to our management of the claim:

  1. Laminate flooring repair claim overturned after slow hidden leak from a concealed shower waste trap
  2. Water tracked underneath laminate floor in living room after burst pipe in loft

In both cases, the Loss Adjusters argued that the laminate flooring was not damaged. However, our moisture meter proved them wrong! Without our involvement in these claims, our customers would not have challenged the Loss Adjuster’s decision. Simply because they couldn’t prove that there was moisture trapped underneath the underlay and laminate flooring unless they took up their flooring.

What building materials could contain Asbestos and should be tested before disturbing/repairing them?

Asbestos was widely used in many building materials until it was banned. However, the most common materials we come across that could contain Asbestos are:

My plaster ceiling is water damaged. Do I need to worry about disturbing Asbestos while repairing it?

Occasionally, Asbestos can be found underneath plastered ceilings. It can be sandwiched between the layer of plaster and the original ceiling plasterboard. Plastering over old Artex/textured coatings is a common way to modernise properties. But please be aware that, if you don’t test the old textured coating before disturbing it, you could potentially put everyone in the property at risk.

IC Assist don’t carry out any repairs to ceilings that could potentially contain Asbestos, without testing it first. As cutting/drilling into the ceiling could release dangerous Asbestos fibers. If we suspect there could be an old Artex coating underneath your plaster ceiling, we can arrange for independent sampling and testing. If the lab finds Asbestos in the sample, our HSE licensed contractors will safely remove and dispose of any contaminated materials.

QUERIES ABOUT IC ASSIST’S SERVICE:

Can you help with any type of property damage claim?

Thanks to our diverse team of contractors, we can assist with any type of insurance repair claim – large or small. So were to help not matter what type of property claim you are making; water, fire, flood, storm, impact or malicious damage.

I have already submitted my claim to my insurer. Is it too late for you to help me?

IC Assist can help at any stage of your claim. Although it would be easier for you, if you instruct us to manage your claim right from the outset. Once you have logged your claim with your insurer, you don’t need to do anything else – just leave it all to us!

What’s the difference between IC Assist and the Loss Adjuster working for my insurer?

Our team care about you and work for you – not your insurer! Which means we’ll protect your interests and ensure the damage is thoroughly assessed. We’ll also instruct our experienced contractors to restore your property to its former condition.

Do you have any customer reviews I can see online?

Some of our customers have taken the time to leave us some reviews online. Please click the links which will take you to genuine customer reviews on Google, Facebook and MyBuilder or Bark. You can also see handwritten customer testimonials and customer satisfaction surveys that we’ve scanned in.

Are there any pictures of insurance repairs your contractors have carried out?

Currently we have over 35 albums showcasing some of before, during and after pictures of claims we’ve managed on our Facebook Page. Please feel free to have a look through them.

If I don’t want you to manage my claim, will you provide a free quote?

Unfortunately, we don’t just provide a free quote. However, if you want us to manage your claim and complete all the repairs, you will get a FREE survey and a FREE quote (as part of our free claims management service).

Can you explain why you don’t provide just a free insurance repair quote?

We only provide free quotations to customers who want us to manage their claim and carry out all the repairs. This is because our surveys and quotes are very comprehensive. As a result, it can take several hours to survey and document the damage and then produce a detailed schedule of works. You can find out more by visiting our insurance repair quotes page.

Your claims management service is free, so why do I need to pay my policy excess?

When settling a claim, your insurance company will deduct your policy excess (if you have one) from the payment they issue to settle the claim. This is standard practice with insurance policies. Therefore, you’ll need to pay the difference. (Your policy excess will be payable no matter who you choose to carry out the repairs).

Is there a catch? How are you able to offer a completely FREE Claims Management service?

There is no catch. IC Assist don’t charge you or your insurer for managing your claim. (That’s provided IC Assist carry out the repairs and manage your claim to completion). We work just like any other building company and make our profit on the contractors we instruct to carry out the repairs.

Why should I choose IC Assist to help me with my claim instead of a general builder?

Most general builders and tradesmen will only provide a quote for standard property repairs. This is because they aren’t trained in insurance. So they won’t be able to give you advise based on your specific policy wording. IC Assist on the other hand, specialise in insurance. Therefore, we’ll make sure your property is repaired in line with the terms of your policy.

Also, most general builders don’t have the knowledge or experience to professional dry and restore water damaged properties. IC Assist have over 9 years experience in water damage restoration. We also have state of the art Dri-Eaz dehumidifiers and air movers to dry your property to industry standards.

What can IC Assist do with my claim that I can’t?

Our Claims Manager will carefully check your policy wording and policy exclusions to ensure your insurer covers the costs of everything you are entitled to. We’ll also make sure nothing is missing from their settlement offer. We are very thorough and almost a decade of experience of dealing with property damage claims. IC Assist also have professional equipment to identify hidden damage. This is something other contractors and Loss Adjusters often overlook.

For example, IC Assist were called in to assess damage to a kitchen and bedroom following a leak from the flat above. The proposal from the Loss Adjuster (and all previous contractors that assessed the damage) was to just stain block and paint the affected area. However, our surveyor suspected the damage was a lot more significant and required a lot more work than the Loss Adjuster anticipated.

After taking moisture meter readings and removing the kitchen plinths, it was evident that the plasterboard and insulation in the ceiling and walls were totally saturated and mouldy and required replacement. More worryingly, the structural timber frame of the building was soaked and rotten. As a result, significant structural repairs were necessary to both flats. It’s shocking how easily major structural repairs were overlooked by all other professionals who attended prior to us!

You can see pictures of the damage to the ceiling caused by a leak from flat above on our Facebook page. Please feel free to take a look at the pictures showing the true extent of the water damage to the walls. There was also a significant amount of mould and moisture behind the plasterboard and kitchen units too.

Also, where necessary we can instruct; structural surveyors, party wall surveyors and fully licensed asbestos sampling, testing and removal firms.

Won’t my insurance company help me with my claim? Why do I need IC Assist’s help?

The primary concern for your insurer and anyone they appoint on their behalf, is to limit their liability and settle claims for the lowest possible amount. IC Assist however, care about you and will ensure they don’t overlook anything. We will liaise with your insurer or their Loss Adjuster, ensuring you get a full and fair settlement.

What will your Claims Manager do for me?

Our Claims Manger will be your one point of contact and will keep you up to date throughout your claim. He will meet and liaise with your insurer/Loss Adjuster to agree all the necessary repairs. Once they authorise your claim, he’ll instruct our contractors and oversee all repairs through to completion.

Why did you set up IC Assist?

To help property owners successfully claim on their insurance following damage to their property – without all the hassle stress that usually comes with it! As most home owners aren’t experts in insurance or repairing property damage, we feel it’s important to:

  • help customers understand the claims process.
  • have someone to help and support them throughout the entire process.
  • professionally represent policyholders and protect their interests.
  • not let insurance companies offer inadequate settlements – just because many homeowners don’t have the technical knowledge to challenge their offers.

Organising and overseeing the repair work can also be a daunting and time consuming task. Most people just don’t have the time to book in multiple different tradesmen and project manage their work. Finding reliable contractors that deliver a high standard of work is also very difficult. But don’t worry, we have built up a carefully selected team of tradesmen who we trust to professionally restore your property.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

We feel a great sense of achievement when we successfully overturn wrongfully declined claims and inadequate settlement offers. Something, which is unfortunately becoming a common problem these days!

Knowing we’ve helped a customer get what they’re entitled to, is what we thrive on. After all, why should they treat policyholders unfairly, just because they’re not experts in insurance? They pay their premiums, so they deserve to have their property restored properly.

Although we have the knowledge and experience to justify anything that’s missing from their settlement offer. Getting them to rectify it however, can be a very time consuming task. It also takes a lot perseverance to ensure they add everything that’s missing. But, it’s so rewarding when the insurer agrees to cover all necessary costs and authorises us to proceed with the repairs.

Do you provide a property drying service?

Yes, IC Assist provide a professional drying service. We have state of the art Dri-Eaz drying equipment on hand to dry water damaged properties quickly. Where appropriate, we can install industrial strength dehumidifiers and air movers during our initial survey. The helps to stabilise moisture levels and prevent mould growing, whilst waiting for your insurer to approve your claim. It also fulfils your obligation to mitigate your claim and prevent secondary damage to your property.

GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT MAKING A PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM:

I’ve been asked to get a couple of quotes for the repairs. Do I really need to do this?

After taking the time to review our schedule of works, most insurers don’t usually request any additional quotes. This is mainly because we provide professional quotes in a format your insurance company will accept. Our schedule of works not only provides them with a complete breakdown of the work required. But it also includes precise measurements and high quality pictures of the damage. They can then input all of this information into their system, which will produce a cost for the work we are proposing. If there is a variance between our prices, we will simply negotiate with them and agree a reasonable cost to complete the work. However, should your insurance company request additional quotations, we can arrange this for you.

Why is my insurer asking me to get several quotes?

Quite simply to save money! Insurance companies make you do all the running around to get several quotes, just so they can choose the cheapest one! It can also save them the cost of sending out a Loss Adjuster. As they can offer you a cash settlement based on the quotes you send to them. In our experience, the cheapest quote is often missing a lot of repairs. Why? As general tradesmen aren’t experts in insurance and don’t check your policy wording to ensure you get the repairs you are entitled to.

What is a Loss Adjuster and why do insurance companies appoint them?

Normally insurance companies appoint Loss Adjusters to validate your claim and agree the lowest possible settlement for the work.

My insurer is offering me a cash settlement. Should I take it or can I decline their offer?

If your insurance company offers you a cash settlement, you should consider your options carefully. As your insurer’s liability ends once you accept their offer. That’s why it’s important to make sure the settlement covers ALL necessary costs. The settlement should not only be enough to pay for all the repairs required. But, it should also include the costs of professional services, if they are necessary. Some of the professional services that your claim may require are:

  • Asbestos sampling, testing, removal, re-assurance air testing. This is necessary to safely deal with damaged Artex coatings, Marley tiles/bitumen adhesive or other any other building materials containing Asbestos.
  • Building control fees. To ensure joist replacement and structural repairs comply to current building regulations.
  • Party wall surveyor. For compliance with the Party Wall Act, when repairing boundary walls or parts of the building that you share with your adjoining neighbour.
  • Structural survey. A structural surveyor may be required if the damage has affected the safety of the building.

If your insurance company is offering you a cash settlement based only on photographs, we would advised against this. (Especially if your claim involves water damage.)

How long will it take to process my claim?

Claim timescales largely depend the volume of claims your insurer or Loss Adjuster is dealing with. If is also affected by how efficiently they process your claim. Most insurers can take 7-10 days to acknowledge our quote. However, it can take longer during surge events such as major flooding or storms. We know you want the repairs to start as soon as possible, so we’ll chase them regularly to progress your claim.

Which section of my policy should I be claiming under for water damage repairs? It is ‘escape of water’, ‘flood’ or ‘accidental damage’?

Many customers confuse an escape of water with a flood. That’s why our office quite often receives calls from customers looking for help with a ‘flood damage claim‘.  However, once the customer explains what’s happened, it’s clear that they have an ‘escape of water claim‘. So how do you know what you should be claiming for? IC Assist will advise you what section of your policy you should claim under.

Food damage occurs as a result of water entering your property from an external source. For example, from heavy rainfall causing a river to burst its banks.

An ‘escape of water’ claim however, is defined as water that’s escaped from fixed pipework inside the property. There are many plumbing related issues that would fall under this category. For example, a leaking or burst pipe feeding a bath, sink, tap, shower, toilet, boiler, radiators or water tank. Leaks from appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers or water filter systems etc are also covered under this section of your policy.

Claims for ‘accidental damage’ could be as a result of many different scenarios, such as:

  • Accidentally hitting or drilling into a pipe while doing some DIY.
  • Dropping or spilling a bucket of water.
  • A child leaving a tap running in the middle of the night.
  • Water overflowing from a sink or bath.
Can you help me if my property is outside of your area?

If your property is outside of IC Assist’s service area, please feel free to get in touch. We are more than happy to have a chat and offer you help and advice. IC Assist frequently receive calls from all around the UK including: Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Leicester, Bradford, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton and surrounding areas. So, if you need some support with your home insurance claim, just give us a call on 0800 4337 290 to see how we can help.

Have a question that you can’t see in our list of FAQ’s for property damage repairs and home insurance claims? Just give IC Assist a call on 0800 4337 290.