When your property suffers a loss, you enter the insurance and property loss marketplace to pursue your claim. This world is filled with professionals who provide wide-ranging services, many of which you need.
How to choose?
In Part 1 of this “Vetting the Vendors” series , we looked at board-up companies and restoration services. Now let’s look at a pair of other service providers: dry cleaners and movers.
Whether damaged by fire or by water, the clothing inside the loss site is assessed and a determination is made to either claim for replacement or send them out to a dry cleaner. But this vendor should not be your neighborhood shirt presser – you need a dry cleaner who specializes in fire and water-damaged fabrics.
Let them come and take the clothing that they think can be cleaned, but be conscious of costs – you are up against your policy limit if you have a total loss. Don’t spend a lot of money salvaging badly damaged clothing or that which you will no longer wear.
Don’t let anyone come in arbitrarily – make sure your public adjuster is available to supervise as these items are being taken out of the home.
Check the clothing as soon as it comes back. Alert your public adjuster as soon as possible if something did not respond to cleaning. Your public adjuster will need to inventory the items and let the adjuster know there are additional total loss items. You should also make sure the cleaner does not charge you for items that did not respond. (Most dry cleaners will not charge for items they are unable to clean.)
If you’ve had a property loss and there are items that are not damaged or that can be cleaned, you will need to have those items moved out of the building to prevent them from being damaged and enable property repairs to be made. You will want a reputable mover to help you pack salvageable items, store them during repairs, and then return and unpack your belongings.
If you’ve ever moved, you know you need a good mover. You will need a moving company that understands its role in an insurance claim.
Make sure the movers have facilities to store your belongings for an extended period of time. Some items might be okay if they are not in a climate-controlled environment, but the majority of your belongings should be in a warehouse that is climate-controlled.
Large, unusual items may require a special company. If you have a piano or pricey works of art, you will want to work with a specialist who knows how to clean and repair these items and can also store them appropriately during the repair process.
It will be helpful if the mover has a large enough facility to be able to bring in a restoration company to clean items on site and then have them re-packed and stored once they’re clean and dry.
These are a few tips to help you vet the various vendors you will encounter – possibly on your front lawn – after experiencing a fire or water loss in your home or business.
We hope these are informative!