How do I Ensure a Successful Home Insurance Claim?

22 Jun
Best way to file a homeowners insurance claim

It’s important to remember that regardless of what your insurer tells you, your insurance company will often fight to pay as little as possible when it comes to a claim.

There is no doubt that insurance company commercials make the homeowners insurance claim process look easy the reality is not always as simple and quick. It’s important to remember that regardless of what your insurer tells you or how long you have known your agent, your insurance company may fight to pay as little as possible when it comes to a claim.

It pays to be informed about the process and understand how to be your own advocate when it comes time to make a claim on your homeowners policy. Here are a few tips on how to navigate the claims process and make sure your claim is resolved, quickly and fairly.

  • Understand Your Policy: Before you have to make a claim be sure that you fully understand your coverage. You should review your policy on a yearly basis or any time that you make a major change to your home. If you upgraded your kitchen or added square footage there is a good chance you need to update your coverage. Check in with your agent on a yearly basis to make sure you are fully covered.
  • Understand What it Doesn’t Cover: Just as important is understanding what your policy doesn’t cover. A standard policy will not cover flood or earthquake damage so if you live in a flood or earthquake prone area, you will need a separate policy that covers this type of damage.

High value personal items are also limited by a standard policy. Coverage levels are often capped on items such as jewelry, art, collectibles and other high value possessions at around $2,500. This will vary by policy. If you have property that exceeds these values you may need an additional rider to add coverage.

  • Document Your Loss: As soon as it is safe, document the damage to your home. Take photos and video and make a detailed list of your damaged possessions. The burden of proof falls to you so document as much as you can, as quickly as you can.
  • Prevent Further Damage: As soon as it is safe you need to secure your home and prevent further damage. If you fail to do this your insurer may consider it negligence and not cover any damage that occurred after the initial disaster.

As an example, if your roof blows off, or your windows are broken, your insurer will expect you to board up the windows and cover the roof to prevent even more damage to the house.

  • Negotiate: Any offer that an insurance company makes is negotiable. If you are unhappy with the settlement offer, tell them and ask them to recalculate the number but make sure you have data to back up your number.
  • Gather Your Own Data: Don’t rely entirely on the adjuster’s numbers. Call at least three different contractors and get quotes for the repair work. Ask your insurance company for a list of contractors that they work with on a regular basis. Make sure that the contractor bids are in line with the number that your adjuster has arrived at for your claim.

After an area is hit by a disaster, less than honest contractors and roofers will often move in and take advantage of homeowners. Never use a contractor you have not fully vetted. Ask for references and call them, verify they are licensed, insured and bonded.

  • Consider a Public Adjuster: The adjuster from your insurance company works for your insurer and their number one goal is to pay out as little as possible to settle the claim.

A public adjuster works for you and will handle your claim for you, dealing with the insurance company, analyzing your policy and negotiating on a settlement. While this all sounds great, it comes at a price. The cost of a public adjuster can run up to 10 percent of your claim which can end up being a big chunk of change.

Run the numbers and make sure it makes financial sense to hire a public adjuster.

  • Hire a Lawyer: In a worst-case scenario, if you cannot come to an agreement with your insurer, you may need to hire a lawyer to help settle your claim. Remember, their fees can add up quickly.

Once you have settled your claim, it may be time to shop your coverage if you have had an unpleasant experience. We can help you find the best policy at the best price, simply complete our online quoting application and easily compare rates and coverage options that are best suited for you and your family.

Get Homeowners Insurance Quotes Today!

Tags: , , , ,