How To File A Homeowners Insurance Claim
Filing a homeowners insurance claim is no joke, especially after a disaster. With the storm season upon us, homeowners know their home is forced to withstand a lot: strong winds, hail, severe lightning and rainstorms, floods, and even hurricanes or tornados. The best option is to disaster-proof your home to withstand these extreme weather conditions more appropriately, but once the damage is done, there’s nothing to be done but file a homeowners insurance claim. The homeowners insurance claim process may be a mystery, but there are some things post-disaster you can do make sure the process runs a bit more swiftly and smoothly. If you are already aware of your homeowners insurance claim process and are simply looking for more affordable rates, start by shopping for homeowners insurance quotes online. Homeowners insurance agents can be in contact with you immediately, offering customized policies and lower quotes. Using our online forms you can compare up to five quotes from local agents in your area right now.
Have a Smoother Homeowners Insurance Claim Process
- Homeowners insurance claim tip #1: Don’t wait. Contact your insurance agent/company/customer service to file your homeowners insurance claim immediately. Giving them notice of damages immediately will help smooth over your homeowners insurance claim process. If there’s a flood in your home, do not—we repeat, do NOT—wait for the water to go down. Call your agent right away and ask just exactly what information about your circumstances your insurer will need to know.
- Homeowners insurance claim tip #2: If you lack coverage, call anyway. Most policies don’t include flood insurance; homeowners often have to purchase this coverage separately. If you don’t have flood insurance coverage, call your homeowners insurance claims department anyway. If you need to leave your home while it is getting restored, your policy may cover any out-of-home living expenses if you have Loss of Use coverage.
- Homeowners insurance claim tip #3: Assess, record the damages. It’s always a good idea to document any damages that occur in your home. Take photographs or video (closer photos provide more details) of your furniture, any damaged rooms and walls, your own personal belongings, etc. Separate all of your personal belongings and home content—the damaged from the undamaged. Don’t throw away the damaged content; your homeowners insurance claims adjuster will want to inspect them. Write everything down that you know is damaged, could be damaged, or missing to make up an inventory list.
*Sidenote: If you have documentation (photos, video, receipts, serial numbers, etc.) of your home’s content from before the damage occurred, that would make the homeowners insurance claim process run even more smoothly, allowing the adjuster the opportunity to compare the “before” and “after” conditions of your property.
- Homeowners insurance claim tip #4: Don’t let anything get further damaged. As far as the insurance company is concerned, if you were aware of something that was slightly damaged and didn’t take the necessary precautions to prevent further disrepair, they won’t pay for it. For example, if you know there’s a leak in your roof, and the weatherman says a storm is on its way, get a tarp. If that small hole in the roof becomes a huge gaping tear that results in the destruction of your property, your homeowners insurance claim can be denied on the basis of your negligence.
- Homeowners insurance claim tip #5: Go with the flow. When attempting to file a homeowners insurance claim post-disaster, ask your agent about what they need from you. What steps do you need to take? What’s the insurance company’s procedure? If you want your homeowners insurance claim process to move along more smoothly, we suggest you comply with whatever the insurance company needs. Also, be patient. If your claim is due to a climate disaster in the area, your neighbors are also trying to file homeowners insurance claims; the most severely damaged homes will be dealt with first.