How to File a Homeowners Insurance Claim
It could be a loud, booming crash above. Perhaps it’s glass breaking. It could be a steady drip from your kitchen ceiling. These sounds could indicate that you need to quickly learn how Homeowners Insurance Claim are filed.
Your insurance company cannot just pay you a check. In order to ensure you receive your full homeowners insurance payout, you must promptly report the matter to the insurer. Here are seven helpful tips to make the process simpler.
Now is the best time to file your home insurance claim
Depending on the insurer you have, you might be able send your home insurance claims online, via an application, through your agent, or by calling them directly. You can get more money if you report a claim quickly, regardless of which method.
Your insurer will assign a claim # and send an adjuster for damage assessment. Soon after, your insurance company will issue an estimate of the cost of repairs and a payment — less your deductible.
It’s possible that storm damage caused your claim. Your insurer will likely receive more claims. It is a good idea to submit a claim as soon as possible.
Document the damage
Your insurer will be able to help you take pictures and make an inventory of any damaged items. If you have more information than your insurer can provide, it is better. Take photos of damaged items and models numbers.
Repairs can be made temporarily
It doesn’t matter if your roof is damaged. You don’t have to live with the damage until an adjuster arrives. You can make temporary repairs once you’ve taken photos of the damage and provided them with proof.
Stopgap repairs are a great way to save money and prevent future problems. The insurer might not cover you if you do not take immediate action to correct a problem. If you don’t put up a board to protect a window that has been broken, someone can climb through it and steal a TV. You might not get your insurance company to cover it.
If you keep receipts and are able to document the reason for repairs, you can submit them to your insurer as part a claim.
Talk to your adjuster
The adjuster assigned by your insurance company will handle your claim. They will be your first point of contact throughout. You’ll need to describe the damage, answer questions, document expenses, and update them about the status of repairs.
You will need your own advocate. You must remember that the adjuster represents your interests and not those of the insurance company.
Amy Bach, executive Director of United Policyholders, an advocacy group for people who have insurance, advises to “be politely assertive” when dealing with adjusters. “Don’t arrive with your boxing gloves on and ready to fight.”
Public insurance adjusters are also available. The public adjuster handles the claim for the policyholder, and also advocates on your behalf with insurers. David Barrack, the executive director of National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, said that in return for their expertise, a public adjuster will typically be paid a percentage of any final claim amount. Barrack puts the fee at around 15%. Some states may have a lower limit.
Keep your receipts
It is possible to spend a lot of money for temporary repairs before you get a check from your insurance company. You will need to save receipts if you are given a check by the insurance company. The initial payment doesn’t usually cover the entire cost of repairs. To get your full reimbursement, you will need to prove how much you spent.
Think about your contractor
The insurance company doesn’t recommend that you hire a contractor to repair your home if it is severely damaged. Bach said that insurance companies tend to work with the same partners as they do. You can find a licensed, insured, bonded contractor by yourself if you have any concerns about the cost estimate.
Help with living expenses
Insurance companies may be able help if your house is so damaged that you are unable to live in it. Your standard homeowners policy includes loss of use coverage. This covers expenses like meals at restaurants and hotel stays if you are unable or unwilling to live in your home. You’ll need to keep all receipts in order to be fully reimbursed for this section of your homeowners’ insurance claim.