As a policyholder, you are a VIP to your insurer. If our office has called to schedule a loss inspection it means that your insurance company has trusted us with something it highly values — your full satisfaction following a loss event.
Providing you with excellent claim service on your company’s behalf is the heart of our business. J. Dyke & Company LLC is a family-owned Vermont independent adjustment firm within a short drive of your damaged property. We have more than three decades of experience handling and supervising property insurance claims and are privileged to work for top-rated companies that insist on prompt, professional and personal claim handling.
We have prepared the following list of answers to frequently asked questions to provide general information about our office’s role and the insurance claim process. This information should not be construed to alter the terms and conditions of your policy.
What is an independent adjuster?
Insurance companies often assign building damage claims to an independent adjuster when a staff adjuster is not available. Independent adjusters provide local claim handling services for more than one insurance company and often have longstanding professional relationships with their client insurance companies.
What can we do about the mess before the adjuster arrives?
You may take reasonable measures to prevent further damage so long as the evidence of the cause or the scope of the loss is not spoiled. Once coverage has been confirmed, the engagement of a restoration company is often extremely helpful, as restoration companies are experienced in preventing further damage while restricting their work so as to not create issues that might affect the policy’s coverage. (For your convenience we have posted the contact information for several Vermont restoration companies under the ‘Service Providers’ tab of this website. You are NOT required to select a company from this list.)
PLEASE NOTE: If you engage a restoration company or other vendor before coverage has been confirmed, you may incur expenses that might not be paid by the insurance company.
Can permanent repairs start before the adjuster’s inspection?
No. Unlike temporary repairs and restoration services, permanent repairs will spoil the evidence of the cause and the scope of the loss. Work completed prior to the adjuster’s inspection that alters the evidence of the cause of the loss or the evidence of the scope of the damage may adversely affect the policy’s coverage.
Does the insurance company hire the restoration company or contractor?
No. Only the building owner can engage a repairer and authorize repairs. For your convenience our website includes a list of Vermont emergency service providers and contractors experienced in fire, smoke and water damage restoration. (See ‘Service Providers’) Please note, however, that you are free to engage the vendor of your choice, even if your preferred service provider is not among the firms we have identified. (Your insurer may have a ‘Preferred Provider’ or similar program for its policyholders — please ask the adjuster or check your insurance company’s website for details.)
Our office cannot call a service provider on your behalf. Neither the insurance company nor J. Dyke & Company LLC provides any guarantee of or warranty on work completed by repair firms that we may have identified.
How can I tell if my claim payment is fair?
Insurance companies typically use an adjuster’s repair estimate to calculate claim payment amounts so that their customers receive insurance benefits as soon as possible. You can verify the accuracy of the adjuster’s estimate by obtaining a written repair proposal from one or more local repairers before authorizing the repairs.
If it is not possible to complete the repairs for the adjuster’s estimate total, please contact the adjuster as soon as possible so that he or she can determine where his or her estimate may have fallen short. In some cases it may be necessary for the adjuster to reinspect the damage or to meet the repairer on site to discuss the particulars.
How long will it take to get paid?
We typically present a proposed adjustment to an insurer within three to five business days of receiving the assignment or less. Large losses require more time.
All proposed adjustments are subject to the insurance company’s review and approval. Insurers most often respond to our adjustment presentations in three to five business days or less. (These time-frames may not be possible during periods of severe weather and heavy claim volume.)
Does the insurance company pay me or the service provider?
It depends. Restoration companies often require a building owner to sign an authorization form permitting the insurer to pay them directly. If you did not sign a form authorizing the insurer’s direct payment to the service provider, the insurance company will most likely pay you directly. If you signed a payment authorization form, the insurance company may pay the provider directly or may issue a check jointly payable to you and the service provider.
Why is my insurance claim check payable to me and my mortgage company?
Most insurance policies require the insurer to name the lender as a payee on claim payments if the lender is identified in the policy as the ‘Mortgagee’ or ‘Mortgageholder.’ If your claim check is payable to you and your lender, please do not attempt to deposit it without the lender’s endorsement, as the insurance company will likely decline the improperly endorsed check for payment when it is presented through the banking system, ultimately causing your bank to reclaim the deposited funds and to charge you with a returned check fee.
What can I do if I can't deposit a claim check payable to me and my lender?
It will be necessary for you to contact the lender to find out what it requires to release insurance claim funds.