Why Isn’t Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim as Easy as Auto Insurance?

15 Aug
Homeowners Insurance Claims Versus Auto Insurance Claims

While most of us are well versed on how to deal with a car insurance claim, a homeowner claim can be a bit more complicated.

Most of us file our homeowners insurance policy in the back of the filing cabinet until we need to make a claim. In many cases, that policy will stay in the filing cabinet and out of sight for quite a long time as the majority of homeowners rarely make a claim on their policy.

According to data from the Insurance Information Institute, between 2011 and 2015 a mere 6.8 percent of insured homes made a claim on their homeowner policy. If you are one of the unlucky 6.8 percent, you may be wondering what to do if you need to make a claim. While most of us are well versed on how to deal with a car insurance claim, a homeowner claim can be a bit more complicated.

The reason for this is that homeowner claims tend to be more complicated as every home is different. Houses are not massed produced with the exact same parts and finishes like cars, there are no VIN numbers or standard parts and repair procedures, all of which makes a homeowner claim more difficult and unique.

While homeowners insurance has not caught up to auto insurance when it comes to technology, insurers are making efforts to ensure that customers have a solid mix of automation and the personal touch that adjusters provide to help their customers through a difficult time.

Technology and Homeowners Insurance

Many insurance companies have already embraced technology when it comes to homeowner policies and processing claims. Here are just a few examples of the high tech help that insurers are offering:

  • Home Inventory App: Keeping an up to date home inventory is key to a successful claim. You should document all of your property with the date of purchase, price paid, a photo as well as the serial number if possible. This will ensure you are fully and fairly paid for all of your property. The majority of national insurance companies have their own home inventory app or have partnered with a third party solution.
  • Mobile App: Many homeowner insurance companies have mobile apps that let customers start the claim process, receive updates from their adjuster, submit photos and other documentation.
  • Drones: Liberty Mutual is just one example of a homeowner insurance company that uses drones to assess damage to the exterior of a home and the roof when it is too dangerous or inconvenient for an adjuster to examine the damage in person.

Using an app is often the quickest way to start a claim and keep in touch with your adjuster, this is especially true during a major catastrophe when phone lines may be jammed with customers trying to file a claim the old fashioned way.

However, even if you start your claim online, in most cases, at some point, interaction with an actual person will be required.

Adjusters Can Be A Big Help

While technology is certainly a help, in most cases, using an adjuster can make the claim process go easier. They can quickly answer your questions, advise you on the status of your claim and inspect the damage.

An adjuster can walk you through the claim process and provide the human touch that you are never going to get from an app. A catastrophic loss can be not only scary but also frustrating, and confusing. In most cases, talking to a professional, in person can be comforting.

In some cases, you may need to hire your own adjuster if you are not getting the results you want from your insurers adjuster or the technology they are using. A public adjuster works as a privately hired adjuster, they are not affiliated with any insurance company. They can review your claim and deal with the insurance company on your behalf to help negotiate a happy outcome for you.

Final Tips

Here are a few final tips to help make the claim process go smoothly in the event your home is damaged or destroyed.

  • Document the Damage: As soon as it is safe, document the damage to your home. Take photos and video of all damage to the home as well as any of your destroyed property. Be sure to take photos from a variety of angles and make sure to forward the documentation to your adjuster.
  • Notify Your Insurer Quickly: Contact your insurer as soon as possible after an incident. This will ensure that your claim is promptly handled. In some cases, insurance companies require that you notify them within a certain time frame or your claim may be denied.
  • Update Your Home Inventory: Keeping an updated home inventory is key to making sure you are fully and fairly compensated in the event you have to make a claim. Every time you purchase a big-ticket item, or even small items you would want replaced, add them to your home inventory. Also notify your insurance agent if you upgrade your home.

Use a Public Adjuster: If you are unhappy with the claim settlement or the speed at which your claim is being handled, consider hiring a public adjuster that will help you navigate the claim process and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your loss.

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