Your home has been damaged and now you’re wondering what to do next. Through your homeowner’s insurance you are entitled to reimbursements for what is covered in your policy. Taking the proper steps in making your claim will be necessary to receive the compensation you need to restore your property to its pre-loss condition.
Make Some Phone Calls
- Call the police to report a crime. If you have been the victim of a burglary or vandalization then you will need to report it to the police immediately. Document the names of any law enforcement officers you speak with and be sure to get a copy of the police report so you can provide all needed details to your insurer.
- Call Your Insurance Agent or Provider. You will want to contact your agent immediately to get your claim officially started. This is also a great time to ask any questions you may have. Some suggested questions include: Does my policy cover this loss? How long do I have to file my claim? How long will the claims process take? Does my loss exceed my deductible? Do I need to get estimates for damage repairs to my home?
Prevent Further Damage
- You must do what you can to protect your home from further damage. For example, if you have a busted pipe or leaky roof that is causing water damage then you may need to make temporary repairs. If possible, avoid throwing out any personal property that is damaged until an insurance adjuster has come for an assessment.
Document Everything & Keep Receipts
- Save receipts for any repairs you make. If you are forced to move out of your home temporarily because of damage be sure to keep a record of all expenses for food and lodging. You can submit receipts later for reimbursement.
- To prepare for the visit of an adjuster you will need to have a detailed list of all damaged or destroyed items. Having a home inventory already prepared will make this part of the claims process much quicker and easier. This documentation is to substantiate any and all losses.
Forms & Adjusters Visit
- Once you have established with your insurance company that you will be making a claim, they will send you the forms you need to fill out. By law, they must be sent to you in a specified amount of time. Fill out these forms immediately and return promptly to avoid delays. Your case will then be assigned a claims number and adjuster.
- An adjuster will be assigned to come and inspect your home. They represent the insurance company and will make an assessment on how much will be paid out to you for the cost of repairs and replacements. You can prepare for your adjuster’s visit by having your list of damages ready and be sure to show them all structural damage and losses.
- If you are unsure about anything during the claims process and have questions, be sure to reach out to your insurance agent or call your state department of insurance.
Dealing with disaster is never easy, but knowing how to file an insurance claim and what the process will look like can help things to go more smoothly. In addition, being prepared by understanding your homeowner’s policy and what is actually covered along with having an up to date home inventory will be a saving grace when disaster hits and you’re in the moment trying your best to deal with a difficult and stressful situation.
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