How to file a claim for homeowner’s insurance
Perhaps it’s a loud bang overhead. It could be shattering glass. Perhaps it’s water dripping from the ceiling of your kitchen. You may need to quickly learn how to file an insurance claim for your home.
It is not enough to sit back and hope that your insurance company will pay you. To ensure that your homeowners insurance claim is fully paid, you will need to promptly report the problem. Keep track of all expenses. These seven tips will make it easier.
You can immediately file your home insurance claim
You may be able submit your home insurance claim online, via an app, or by calling your insurer directly. No matter what method you use, reporting a claim immediately can help get money in your pockets faster.
Your insurer will assign you a claim number and send an adjuster out to assess the damage. The insurance company will soon issue an initial payment, less your deductible, to cover the estimated cost for repairs.
Storm damage can cause storm damage to other properties in the same area as yours. This means that there will be more claims, and therefore, more demand for your insurance. You can submit a claim right away to get your claim processed quickly.
Document the damage
You can take photos of the damaged items and create an inventory to give your insurer a record. You can give your insurer more information, so take photos of labels and model numbers.
You don’t have the obligation to live with a roof leak until an adjuster arrives. If it is safe, you can make temporary repairs after you have documented the damage for your insurance.
Stopgap repairs, whether it’s fixing a leak or boarding up broken windows, can save you time and money. You might not be covered if you fail to address an immediate problem as quickly as possible. Imagine that someone breaks through a window, and then takes a TV from you. It might not be covered by your insurance.
You can submit expenses to your insurance company as part of a claim as long as you have receipts and can show why repairs were necessary.
Talk to your adjuster
An adjuster will be assigned by your insurance company to handle the claim. This person will also serve as your main point of contact throughout the entire process. You will need to explain the damage to them, answer their questions, provide documentation and keep them updated on the status of repairs.
You will need to be your biggest advocate. The adjuster represents the interests of the insurance company, not yours.
Amy Bach, executive director at United Policyholders (a non-profit advocacy for people who have insurance), advises that it is polite to assert yourself with the adjuster. “Don’t bring your boxing gloves and be ready to fight.
A public adjuster is also available. Public adjusters are able to handle the claim on behalf of the policyholders and advocate for you with the insurer. According to David Barrack (executive director of National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters), a public adjuster typically gets a percentage of the total claim amount in exchange for their expertise. Barrack estimated that the fee would be around 15%. However, some states may have lower caps.
Keep your receipts safe
Before you receive a payment from your insurer, you could spend a lot on temporary repairs. Even if you get a check upfront from your insurer, it’s important to keep all receipts. Estimates won’t cut the mustard. The initial payment usually doesn’t cover all costs of repairs. You will need to show proof of what you spent to be able to receive your full payment.
Take into account your contractor
You don’t need to hire the recommended contractor by your insurance company if your home has been damaged. Bach states that insurers are more likely to partner with companies they already have. If you are concerned about the cost estimate, however, you can still find licensed, bonded, and insured contractors on your own.
Receive assistance with your living expenses
Your insurance company might be able to assist you if your home has been so severely damaged that it is impossible for you to live there. If you are unable to live in your home, loss of use coverage will cover expenses such as hotel stays or meals at restaurants. To ensure you get full reimbursement for this portion of your homeowners insurance claim, keep all receipts.