Unfortunately, damage to homes and personal property is all too common. Fires, floods, harsh storms – these natural disasters can wreak havoc on your residence as well as its contents. Filing a claim with your homeowners insurance company will help you put the pieces back together again, but there are some things you should know about the claims process that will help you best protect your family.
If Your Home Has Been Damaged
If your home sustains damage due to a natural disaster such as a fire or flood, safety should be your first priority. Make sure everyone is safely out of the house and seek medical care for any injuries to you or your loved ones.
Once everyone is safe, secure your property, if possible, and call your insurance company to begin the claims process. Filing a claim can be a long and stressful process, especially after experiencing a traumatic situation at home. Hopefully, you’ve done your research and selected an insurance provider you trust, which can ease some of the uneasiness homeowners may feel when working with adjusters.
Keep in mind that, while your homeowner’s insurance coverage is there to help you, the insurance company is a business and their bottom line is to minimize losses & maximize profits. Equipping yourself with knowledge going into the claims process will help you fight for your best interests and secure a fair settlement.
What to Know When Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim
- Know the ins and outs of your policy. Read your policy documents to determine exactly what is covered.
- Once you know what coverage your policy offers, develop a plan for pursuing the claim that will help you ensure fair compensation for the losses you have suffered.
The Insurance Claims Process
Every year, about one out of every 20 insured homes has a claim for damage. While each insurance company’s specific process for handling claims differs, these basic steps are usually followed.
Prevent Further Damage
Depending on the severity of damage to your home, it may be necessary to take steps to prevent further damage to the property during the claims process. This may include tarping the roof, boarding up windows, and other temporary repairs. Belongings in damaged areas of the home should be moved to a protected location, but make sure you do not throw anything away at this point.
Detailed documentation will be helpful as you pursue fair replacement values for damaged property and compensation for necessary home repairs. This information will also help you create an accurate proof of loss statement – the more details available to you, the easier this process will be.
- Take photos of the house inside and out, including detailed pictures of rooms and their contents as well as specific personal belongings.
- Create an inventory of your damaged belongings, including as much information as possible. List items with their brand names, model numbers, descriptions, and purchase prices.
- Collect receipts and proofs of purchase from credit card or bank statements to support the value of your items.
- Keep records and receipts for replacement costs you’ve incurred due to the damage as well as living expenses associated with temporary housing while your home is being restored.
Assessment of Damage
Your insurance adjuster and possibly others from the insurance company will visit your home to assess the damage to your residence and personal property. While a homeowner is not typically required to be present while the adjuster performs an investigation of the damaged property, it can be helpful. If you attend this meeting, you are able to point out areas of concern and make sure the adjuster does not skip over any damage.
Negotiating with Your Adjuster
Remember, the adjuster works for the insurance company and protects their best interests, not yours. Negotiation is to be expected, so do not feel like you must accept the first offer. The adjuster does have some flexibility so be prepared to fight for what you deserve. Be willing to work with the adjuster, contractor, and insurance company, but don’t let them push you around. If you feel you are being ripped off, contact a licensed public adjuster for professional help and guidance.
Central Indiana Restoration Services
Once your claim is settled, you must choose a restoration company to handle repairs to your home and belongings. Obtain more than one quote for the work needed and select the company that is most reasonable and you feel you can trust. Keep up with the project as work is performed to make sure the correct work is completed.
While filing a homeowners insurance claim can feel stressful, these small tips can help you feel more prepared and speed up the claims process. If you are in need of home restoration services in Central Indiana, contact Hays + Sons today to request a quote.