How to File Homeowners Insurance Claims

insurance

What is the purpose of an Insurance Claim?

The main purpose of homeowners insurance is to reimburse you for damages your property incurred. That’s the main reason why most people get these sorts of policies. It’s important to understand the intricacies of filing a claim to get a timely and satisfactory payout. Every policy is different and every company has its legal loopholes that homeowners need to be aware of. You’ll need to know what can be claimed, what can’t, as well as your reimbursement terms, and your deductibles. 

Insurance claims 101

A claim is a formal request. It’s how you let your insurance company know that it’s time for them to pony up. When you file a claim you’re asking your insurance company to adhere to the policy’s terms, review your claim – its validity – and pay you a certain amount.

In most cases, insurance companies don’t really put up too much of a fuzz, as long as the claim adheres to the policy’s terms. They’ll review your case, analyze your request and if everything seems up and up, they’ll reimburse you.

You can file a claim as long as the peril – or event – is covered by your policy. It’s important to become familiar with your terms and their provision – like your deductible – before asking for a reimbursement. Most policies cover your personal property in the case of damage, destruction, vandalism, or burglary. 

What Can I Claim?

Double-check your contract. Each one is different and to expedite the claim process you’ll need to know what your policy covers. Filing quickly can also avoid delays, particularly if it’s a large-scale event – like a natural disaster – where other people were affected— they too are filing claims and clogging the system.

The general expectation is that if the event/damage is covered by your policy you’ll get a speedy payout. Nonetheless, there’s a couple of caveats to consider.

How to file a homeowners insurance claim

If you think the damage theft or event is covered by your policy the best thing you can do is gather as much detail as possible on the loss and what caused it. The more details and facts you provide upfront the faster your claim will be reimbursed and processed. 

In essence, depending on your company, the procedure is fairly easy.

File a police report

If your house was the scene of a crime – you were robbed or vandalized – then your insurance company will need a policy report to verify this fact.

Contact your Insurance Provider

Call your company and simply inform them of what has happened. Ask them if they can help and if your loss is covered by your company. Despite common beliefs, insurance officials aren’t monsters. Most have been trained to be sympathetic and most want to help. They’ll most likely give you a ballpark estimate of the amount you can ask for, what your deductibles are, and a step-by-step guide on how to file a claim.

Fill out Forms

You’ll need to fill out various forms – among them the proof-of-loss claim. Most will be made available online. You will be asked to give a detailed reenactment of the event and what was lost. You may also submit photos or video evidence of the damage. It’s important to note that the law stipulates that you have a set amount of time after you contact your insurance company to fill out these forms. 

Preparer for the adjuster

If it’s a large claim, your company might send out an adjuster. They’ll confirm the details of the case and expedite the process. 

Obtain estimates from a contractor

It’s important to get an estimate from a contractor. In many cases, insurance companies might need it. Some, even pay the sum of the repair directly to the contractor. It’s also critical to have one ready in the case your provider low-balls the amount.

Get payout

If you have a mortgage, the insurance company will send out two checks. One to you and another to your lender — according to the law they have equal rights to the insurance payout. If it’s a replacement cost, you’ll receive cash value based on an appraisal. If it’s a repair, the insurance company might put the funds in an escrow account and release them as repairs are being completed.

For more information on homeowners claims and deductibles visit https://fundmydeductible.com.

When NOT to file a claim?

The general rule of thumb is to only file a claim when the damage is at least twice your deductible’s amount. If not, it’s better to consider paying for repairs, damaged property, or stolen items out of pocket. Why?

Most likely, particularly if it’s on account of a non-weather related event, vandalism, mold growth, personal liability – like your dog biting someone or someone getting hurt in your property – insurance companies are liable to hike up your premium rates or cancel your policy once the payout is completed. Not only that, but having something of that sort in your record will make it incredibly difficult to get coverage in another company. The general idea is that a claim of this type – one not brought about by natural events or things that are unlikely to repeat themselves – will most likely occur again.

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