The process of filing a homeowners insurance claim can be quite lengthy and nerve-wracking. However, if you are prepared to file your home insurance claim in the event that it becomes necessary, you will find that the process is much easier. This article will help you get started with understanding what steps need to be taken when you file a homeowners insurance claim.
When is it appropriate to file a homeowners insurance claim?
When disaster strikes or an incident occurs at your home, your first thought may be to file an insurance claim. However, did you know that certain types of damages to your home, may actually cause a rate increase on your policy? Why is this? This is mainly due to the fact that the cost of repairs is too high, or you have a history of multiple insurances claims one right after the other. In the case of the second scenario, you are likely to see an increase in your premiums.
A good rule of thumb: only file an insurance claim when you absolutely need to. Filing a claim when you see minor damages to your home may not be the best idea for your wallet. However, if there is a large storm, pipe burst, fire damage, etc. that impacted your property, there is no question that you should file an insurance claim then. These claims will stay on your Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report, up to seven years or more. Another quick tip: if the replacement cost for your property is less than your deductible, we would suggest not go through your insurance company, rather try to make the repairs yourself or hire a restoration company.
Let's discuss filing a home insurance claim: step-by-step
1. File A Police Report
This is one of the most crucial steps to getting your home insurance claim off on the right foot. Most insurance companies will not begin the claims process without having a police report filed because it has important information about the loss of damage. If filing a vandalism report, it is even more imperative that the police are notified first. Once this is complete you can start the claim process, by contacting your insurance agent.
2. Contact Your Insurance Company
The sooner you contact your insurance company the better, not only will you get the process started sooner to possibly get the money need to repair the damages faster, however, some insurance companies will not accept claim forms after a certain period of time. If you had extensive damage to your home, it’s better to file the claim as soon as possible, that way you can repair it sooner.
3. Begin To Take Pictures, Save documents, Gather files
Another crucial step in the claims process is to make sure you as the policyholder are saving all the documents and information pertinent to your claim. It’s imperative that you take pictures of every room in your home showing how extensive the damage was, be sure to include before and after shots as well as any walls or other structural damage. You’ll also want to save receipts for anything you purchased during this time period. Also, gather any files with as much detail as possible related to the incident. All of this information will help the homeowners insurance claims process go smoothly. This will also help your case when the insurance adjuster comes to assess the damages at your home. If you have evidence to include on your side of the report to compare with the insurance companies report, you are likely to see a higher payout.
4. Work With Your Insurance Company While You Make Temporary Repairs
At this point, you have received an estimate from your insurance company, which means you can either accept it or fight for more money. There is a lot of back and forth between the policyholder and the insurance company during this step, which means a lot of time can pass before you receive the money to make the proper repairs. This is where you can do a couple of things, either begin to make small repairs or move on to the next step, hiring a public adjuster. Be careful though when making temporary repairs, you do not want to further damage any piece of personal property you are trying to receive insurance money for.
5. Hire A Public Adjuster If You Feel You Deserve More Money From Your Insurance Company
What is a public adjuster? They are the people that represent you during a homeowners insurance claim. A homeowners insurance company does not want the policyholder to know about public adjusters and how much money they can help the insured receive. A public adjuster is also very similar to an insurance adjuster where they come out and assess the damages to your property and will file their own report on your behalf. There is nothing against using a public adjuster on your homeowner’s insurance policy, so why not get the most money for your claim?
6. Repair Your Home
Now that you have gone through the insurance claim process, by filing the claim, documented your loss, negotiate your claim, and possibly hired a public adjuster to help you through the process, it’s now time to finally use the money to repair your home! There a couple of options you can do at this final step. You can repair your home yourself, which comes with its own challenges, or you can hire a restoration company to repair all the damages for you. Either way, you have successfully gone through the process of filing an insurance claim.
Another important tip for you when dealing with an insurance claim:
Review Your Policy Always!
As we mentioned previously, it is always better to know what your policy states, what you are covered for and what you aren’t. Most homeowners insurance policies will come with basic insurance, with no additional coverages. For instance, you may need to purchase additional coverage, such as flood coverage if you live in a flood zone if it is not on your current policy.
Common Questions Associated When Filing an Insurance Claim:
How Do I Know What Damages Will Be Covered?
Under your homeowners insurance policy, this is where you will find all the relevant information as to what is known as a covered peril. It’s best to go over your policy first, before it’s too late and you have to file a home insurance claim, only to find out your damage will not be covered. More often than not your damage will most likely be covered, however, it is important to note that any damages to your property due to poor upkeep will not be covered.
What Is Actual Cash Value (ACV)?
This value is the amount equal to the replacement cost minus depreciation of a damaged or stolen property at the time of the loss. What does this mean exactly? This is the calculated value of your property that homeowners insurance companies use when evaluating how much money you should receive from a claim. You have likely also seen replacement cost value (RCV). These are very similar with one slight difference. ACV deducts deprecation to calculate the amount a piece of property is worth, while RCV does not.
What Should I Do When My Claim Is Denied?
It may seem like there isn’t a lot to go off of next and you may feel like you have no clue why your claim got denied in the first place. However, there is a way to combat this. You can start the process of reversing your claim as soon as you hear that your claim was denied. Who can help with this process? A public adjuster!
Calling in a public adjuster may seem like an extra step but they will take care of everything and make sure you get what is owed to you from the insurance company. Another important note: Your insurance company may also push off this process, which is why it is important to get it started quickly. If you feel that in the future you want to switch your homeowners insurance, feel free to, you can switch or cancel your policy at any time at no extra cost.
Need help receiving the most money for your insurance claim? Hire Performance Adjusting!
As a public adjusting company, we have the experience necessary to help you throughout the entire claims process, including filing a claim. Homeowners insurance claims are tricky to negotiate by yourself. Hopefully, this article was able to help you out, however, if you have any additional questions, call or contact us today. Our public adjusters will handle your claim from start to finish, with no extra costs added on to you!