Home insurance is there to protect you in a disaster. You pay the premiums every month, and the company agrees to cover damage if you have a fire, theft or some other damage to the home.
However, do you know how to file a home insurance claim if you need to? Here is what you need to know before disaster strikes, so you will be prepared when the time comes to call your insurance company.
Mitigate the Damage
You do have a responsibility to try and mitigate the damage. If your roof is leaking, and you do nothing to catch the water or stem the tide, then the insurance can refuse to pay for some of the damages. In addition to calling the company for a claim, you should also take steps to limit the damage.
Provide a Detailed Description of Damage
Your insurance company cannot make a payment if they don’t know what they are paying on. Be prepared ahead of time by photographing all rooms of your home and keeping the pictures with your insurance papers. This will help show what you owned and make it easier for you to do an inventory if you are ever robbed.
Take pictures of the damage, and you should also photograph any measures you put in place to minimize the losses. Provide them with a detailed list of the damaged items. If you have receipts, you should prepare them for the company. If possible, give the insurer pictures of the damaged items from before and after the incident.
Make Claims Promptly
You have a limited window for filing claims. Generally, the sooner you call, the better off you will be. Don’t wait to file claims. Talk to the insurance company as soon as possible to ensure that repairs are done in a timely manner. It will also be easier to answer questions about the incident when the details are fresh in your mind.
The Inspection and Repairs
You have a responsibility to mitigate damage by calling the fire department or putting a tarp over a leaking roof, but you should not make permanent roof repairs yet.
It may take a little time to get an adjuster to the house and go through the process, but you could be denied if you do the work before calling the company. Save receipts from the temporary repairs to offset your deductible or be reimbursed.
When the adjuster comes to your home, you will want to be on site to talk with him or her. Take notes of your communication with the insurance company, and make notes about when the inspector arrived, what was looked at and anything that was said. Keep this information in a folder for easy access in case you have disputes with the company.
Properly Completed Forms
There will be paperwork to fill out, and you want to complete it properly. When filling out forms and answering questions, go through the process slowly and thoroughly.
Provide them with the information they need to keep things moving along in a timely manner. Along with forms and questions, you will also be given different names and contact information. Keep all of this information together along with any written correspondence.
Disputing the Settlement
The insurance company may offer you a low settlement or try to deny the claim. This is when your folder of information will really come in handy. If you believe that the offer is not appropriate, you can dispute it. Use the estimates, information from contacts and your insurance contract to push for a better settlement.
Knowing how to file a home insurance claim is important, but it’s also vital to know what is covered by your insurance. Take the time to review your insurance information and make sure you know the policy details. This way, you will know how to prepare yourself ahead of time and what to do in the event that you need to file a claim.
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