Tips for Filing Homeowners Insurance Claims

Tips for Filing Homeowners Insurance Claims

Many homeowners have questions about filing insurance claims. They wonder when to file, and how to file. Remember, your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. There are rules in your policy on how to file your claim, and when you can file one.

When a storm damages your home or you fall victim to a burglary, you’ll need tips on filing homeowners insurance claims to recoup some, or all, of your losses.

Tips for Filing Your Claim

  • Start with your insurance policy: Remember to first read your insurance policy in full to see just what your responsibilities are. The contract should outline what you need to do.
  • Report any crime to the police: If you are filing a claim due to burglary or vandalization, make sure to first call the police. You’ll need a police report as well as the names of the responding officers when you file your claim.
  • Call your insurance agent: Next, you’ll want to call your agent. Tell him or her the situation, and then ask them if you are covered. If you are, ask them how long you have to file a claim, and check to see if that claim exceeds your deductible. If your loss is lower than your deductible, you probably won’t want to go through the claims process. If you do file a claim, ask them how long you can expect it to take to process. You may need to obtain estimates for repairs; if so, your agent can tell you. If you do need estimates, getting those should be next on your list.
  • Fill out your claim forms: If you and your agent decide you will be filing a claim, make sure to fill out the forms promptly. The insurance company will send you the necessary forms. Be sure to return them quickly so your claim is not delayed.
  • Schedule an appointment with the insurance adjuster: Your insurance company will need to have their adjustor come out and inspect the damage. They will have the adjustor call you to set up an appointment. You’ll need to show the adjuster any structural damage and have a list of damaged items ready for him or her.
  • Make temporary repairs. Photograph or videotape the damage, then take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage. If possible, avoid throwing out damaged items until the adjuster has visited your home. Save receipts for what you spend—you may be able to submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement later. You’ll also want to give them copies of receipts for the damaged items.
  • Keep your receipts: If you need to relocate due to the damage, make sure to keep your receipts. Keep receipts and records of any additional expenses you incur. Many homeowners’ policies cover things like additional living expenses, but they will need to see proof of those costs.

If you have any questions about filing your claim, make sure to ask! Your insurance agent will be happy to help. And remember, once you and your insurance company agree on the terms of a settlement, the payment will be sent promptly. State laws require it.

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