How to File an Insurance Claim

When you pay the monthly premiums on your homeowners insurance, you assume that when you need it, the company will help you pay for repairs to your home. Filing a homeowners insurance claim is a simple process. Usually you contact your insurance agent, file a claim form, and then wait for an insurance adjuster to inspect the damage. Once the insurance company determines your payment, you then wait for a check. Many claims are handled very quickly. However, there are several things to keep in mind when you submit a claim on your homeowners insurance to keep this process simple and easy.

Be familiar with your policy.

An insurance policy is basically a contract between the homeowner and the insurance company that states how much money will be paid to the homeowner if certain events cause damage to the property. As with any contract, make sure you have read your policy thoroughly before you sign it. If you have any problems with the language used in your policy, ask your insurance agent to explain it to you. Before you make a claim, you have to make sure that your homeowners insurance policy covers the cause of the damage. Basic insurance policies exclude damage from many things you might not think about like floods, earthquakes, or busted pipes.

Don’t wait.

Homeowners should call their insurance agent or your insurance company’s claims number as soon as possible after the damage occurs. Many companies will penalize you for waiting, and many policies contain a clause that requires you to notify your insurance company within a certain amount of time. Calling early and getting your agent involved may also help the claims process move more quickly and smoothly.

Get a second opinion.

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Like with your health, you might need to get a second opinion about the damage to your property. After all, why leave the inspection up to the insurance company? There are independent insurance adjusters in your area who will inspect the damages to your home. You can also get a second opinion on the cost of repairs to your home. Your insurance company might be more likely to approve your claim if you have an estimate from a reputable contractor.

Document everything!

Before you make a claim, you need to document your home and inventory your belongings. This way, when your home is damaged or your personal property stolen, you have proof to show your insurance company. An accurate inventory of your personal property is key to replacing damaged or stolen items. Take photos of your home when you first buy your policy as well so that the insurance adjuster can make a comparison. As soon as possible after damage occurs, take more photographs to document damage before you begin cleaning or repairs. Also keep receipts of everything you buy towards repairs or to replace damaged property to further document your losses.

If you follow these simple guidelines, filing a claim on your homeowners insurance can be as painless as possible. With your claim properly filled, you can get back to the important business of living.

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