Every year, about 5% of insured homeowners file a homeowners insurance policy claim.
Some of these homeowners file claims following fires that take place inside their homes. Others do it in the aftermath of natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes. And of course, there are also homeowners who file claims after someone sustains an injury in their home and threatens to sue.
Are you in the process of preparing to file an insurance claim through the company that provides you with homeowners insurance? Before you do, you should make every effort to ensure that your claim is going to be successful.
You should also strive to maximize the payout that you receive from your insurance company in the event that they do accept your claim. Here are the steps you can take to increase the chances of this happening.
Find Out What Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Covers
Studies have shown that average American doesn't know much about any of the insurance policies that they have for themselves. When you consider how important that something like, say, health insurance is, it's amazing to see just how little most people know about it.
With that in mind, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise to hear that many homeowners aren't sure what their homeowners insurance policies actually cover. A lot of them simply sign up for the most affordable policies they can find when they buy a home and don't ever get around to reading through their policies from top to bottom.
Make sure you know what your homeowners insurance policy does and does not cover before you file a policy claim. The last thing you want to do is spend hours trying to file a claim only to find out that whatever you're filing the claim for isn't covered under your policy.
Depending on what kind of policy you have, it may or may not cover damage done by things like:
Take a good, long look at your policy right before you file a policy claim to see if your claim is going to be covered.
Reach Out to Your Insurance Company Right Away
While you should familiarize yourself with your homeowners insurance policy as best you can before filing a claim, you shouldn't spend days or even weeks doing it. You should read through it as quickly as you can so that you can file a policy claim as soon as possible.
If you wait too long to file a claim, it could throw a monkey wrench into your plans and reduce the chances of your claim being successful. In a perfect world, you should contact your insurance company on the same day that your home sustains damage.
Your homeowners insurance company will assign an insurance adjuster to handle your case from start to finish. They'll also set you up with a claims number that you'll need to reference whenever you call to check up on a claim.
You're going to be spending a good amount of time communicating with your insurance adjuster in the coming days and weeks. They're going to be in charge of analyzing your case and determining how much your insurance company is going to pay to repair your home, if anything.
Document Everything Related to Your Insurance Policy Claim
From the moment that you realize your home has been damaged, broken into, or otherwise tarnished, you should start documenting everything you can.
Does your roof have a huge hole in it following a hurricane? Take photos and videos of the hole and any damage it caused on the inside of your home.
Did someone tear through your house and steal all your electronics? Capture photos and videos of your ransacked home and show where some of your missing items used to be.
Was one of your neighbors injured while hanging out in your backyard? Snap photos of their injuries, if possible, and write down everything that you and your neighbor remember about the incident.
The more information and photographic evidence that you can provide for your homeowners insurance company, the better. Your adjuster will be able to do a much better job when you have the necessary info for them.
Consider Making Temporary Repairs to Your Home
When you're still in the process of filing a homeowners insurance policy claim, you might be tempted to put off making any repairs that need to be made to your home. You are, after all, going through the insurance process to get the money you'll need to make repairs.
But there are some repairs that just can't wait. If, for example, you have a hole in your roof after a storm, you need to have the roof repaired ASAP.
Call on a roofing company to come out and fix your roof for you so that your home doesn't sustain any additional damage. Just make sure you save all the receipts you receive following the repairs so that you can send them to your insurance company.
Stay in Touch With Your Insurance Company About Your Claim
Most insurance adjusters will try to keep things moving along as best they can so that you can get your hands on the money you need to make repairs to your home. But there are times when insurance companies will drag their feet while processing claims.
If you sense that your insurance company is taking too long to handle your claim, don't be afraid to stay on top of them about it. Call them a couple of times each week to check on the status of your claim and to see when you should expect a final decision on it.
By taking this approach, you'll show your insurance adjuster that you mean business and that you need to get an answer from them sooner rather than later.
Think About Hiring a Public Adjuster to Help You
At some point after you've filed a homeowners insurance policy claim, your insurance adjuster will contact you and tell you about their final determination. They'll let you know if your claim was successful, and if it was, they'll tell you how much money you can expect to receive from your insurance company.
Once they've heard back from their insurance adjuster, some homeowners are happy with what they hear. But others don't agree with the assessment done by their insurance adjuster and believe they deserve a much higher payout.
If you ever find yourself in this situation, hiring a public adjuster from a company like Let Us Claim might prove to be a great idea. It could result in you getting a larger payout down the line.
Public adjusters will step in and investigate your homeowners insurance claim and conduct their own analysis of it. They'll look at all the information you provided for your insurance adjuster and check out the condition of your home.
Once they've done that, they can help you appeal your insurance adjuster's decision based on what they find. Their assessment could increase your insurance payout substantially and give you the money you need to rebuild your home.
They will take a cut of your payout in exchange for their services. But oftentimes, you'll still walk away with way more money than you were expecting to after your original adjuster's assessment.
Hire the Right Contractors to Make Permanent Repairs to Your Home
Whether you accept the insurance payout provided to you by your original insurance adjuster or work with a public adjuster on your homeowners insurance policy claim, you should be left with a pile of money at the conclusion of the process.
This money should be earmarked for making repairs to your home. It should be given to the most trusted contractor in your area to get the repairs done right.
Do your homework when searching for contractors and try to track down the one with the best reviews in your city or town. Get quotes from different contractors, too, to see which ones will provide you with the best prices for their services.
By taking a little extra time to locate the best contractor, you can ensure your home looks like new again once it's repaired. It'll finish off the insurance policy claim process in the best way possible.
Go Start the Process of Filing a Homeowners Insurance Policy Claim
Filing a homeowners insurance policy claim can be an overwhelming experience for many people. They're not sure where to start or what to do to get the payout they feel they deserve.
By following the steps found here, you can work your way through filing an insurance claim without stressing yourself out too much. You can also give yourself a better chance of collecting a large payout in the end.
Stay patient throughout the process and communicate well with your insurance adjuster. It'll put you in a great position once everything is all said and done.
Take a look at our blog to learn more about the different types of insurance and how they could benefit you.