Although no one looks forward to the time when they may need to file a claim with their homeowners’ insurance company, understanding the claims process can spare you a lot of stress and frustration if there is destruction or damage to your home or a burglary occurs. Your policy will contain the specific rules and procedures that the insurer requires you to follow, but below is a general step-by-step guide.
Filing a Claim for Property Damage
If your home is damaged by a covered event, such a hurricane, flooding, or sinkhole, you should do the following:
- Contact your insurance company or agent immediately, as there is generally a time limit on filing claims. Tell them what happened and confirm coverage. It’s also a good idea to ask if your claim will exceed your deductible, which is the amount of loss you agreed to cover yourself when you originally took out the policy.
- Carry out an inspection to confirm the extent of the damage. Make sure you take pictures and even video so that your insurer can see what your property looked like when you discovered the damage. Do not throw anything away until the adjuster has come to view the home for themselves.
- Make temporary repairs. You should take all reasonable steps to make your home habitable and protect it from further damage. Keep all your receipts and send copies to your insurance company.
- Fill out and submit a claim form. Be as specific as possible when you report your losses. If you maintained a home inventory, this should be relatively easy to do. If not, walk through the home to confirm that you haven’t missed anything before you file the claim with the insurer.
Filing a Claim for Theft
If you come home from work or vacation and find your front door ajar or window smashed in, call the police immediately, as the intruder could still be in the house. Do not enter until the police arrive and advise that your home is safe to enter. Then, take the following steps to file a claim and recover any stolen or damaged property.
- Take inventory. Go from room to room and take an inventory of missing and damaged items. Take photos of anything that has been destroyed. Once you’ve finished, hunt down the receipts for these items if you still have them. It is good practice to keep receipts for all valuables in case a claim ever needs to be made.
- Notify your insurance company. Once you have a good idea of what’s been lost, call your insurer to report the theft and/or vandalism. You will need a copy of the police report and your receipts (if you have them).
- Fill out and submit a claim form. This step is practically identical to the step when filing a claim for wind or flood damage, except that a police report will need to be submitted too.
No matter the reason for filing a homeowners insurance claim, your insurer will determine the exact value of your lost property, minus the deductible and depreciation. Once both sides agree on a settlement, your compensation will be remitted to you.
At We Insure, we will work with you to create a homeowners’ policy that provides your home and its contents with the best protection for your circumstances so you won’t be caught without the right coverage if the unexpected happens. For more information, please contact Rick Leal today.