Filing a homeowners insurance claim
Follow these initial steps for filing your homeowners insurance claim.
If you need to file a homeowners insurance claim, the first step is usually to call your insurance agent or company immediately. (We say "usually," because in cases of injury, of course, the first step may be to call 911.) Here are a few steps you can take to begin the home insurance claim process.
Call promptly and ask questions.
A great benefit of working with an independent insurance agent to purchase insurance - when you have a claim, they'll work on your behalf. Your agent should walk you through the claim process, including what you should do next and what information you'll need. You might also ask, Am I covered? How much is my deductible? How long will it take until my claim is processed? Should I get estimates for repairs or structural damage?
Call the police
If you are a victim of burglary or vandalism then report it to the police. If you have any witnesses or other information make note of this and inform the police.
Make temporary repairs
Take steps to protect your home from any further damage. For example, if there is a minor flood mop the water to prevent a mold infestation. If you save the receipts for what you spend then you can submit them to your insurance company for review. You may be reimbursed if coverage applies.
Get claims forms
Your company will send you claim forms to complete. In order to keeps the process rolling, send these back as soon as possible.
Make a list of lost or damaged items
Be ready to prove your loss. Hopefully you have a home inventory and can easily mark off all the items that were lost or damaged. Provide receipts if available. Keep a copy of this inventory. Also, don't throw away damaged items until the adjuster has visited your home. You should also take photos or videos of the damage.
Keep your receipts if you need to relocate
If the conditions of your home are not livable and you need to relocate while your home is being repaired, keep the receipts and records for all expenses. Most homeowner policies provide coverage for the "loss of use" of your home.
Have an adjuster inspect your home
If the insurance company wants to send an adjuster to assess the damage of your home, welcome it. This is how the insurance company is able to determine what needs to be done. They will inspect the damage done to your home cosmetically and structurally, and they will look at personal items that were damaged.
Make sure that you also read over your insurance policy to see what other responsibilities you may encounter. In most cases you will be reimbursed and sent payment promptly. If you have any questions, or concerns, please contact us or your independent agent for more information.