Filing a homeowners insurance claim

Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 20, 2009

The least pleasant and most stressful moments of home insurance is of course filing a claim. Insurance companies are rarely happy to receive a claim from their customers, although it their direct job to handle these things. And most people, especially when having and insurance situation for the first time, are quite nervous about contacting the company. To make it a bit easier both for you and your insurer, here are some steps to follow in order to file a claim and get all the benefits of your policy when they're needed.

1. Inform your company about filing the claim as soon as possible. Contact your insurance agent to discuss any damage that you think your insurance policy should cover. This is the person that will help you with information and advice on how to proceed according to the coverage your policy delivers. It's better to have all the information regarding your policy and your agent's contact information somewhere outside your home (in the wallet for example). It is also recommended to record all your conversations with the agent to have a reference if needed.

2. Evaluate and document the overall damage to your property for the claim. The best way to do that is to have a digital video or photo camera to record all the damage along with comments and documentation immediately after the property was subjected to any influence. Keep these recordings and documents available when needed, having multiple copies will also be handy.

3. Make intermediate repairs before your policy kicks in. You have the responsibility for your property after the damage and should prevent it from getting even worse. If there's a leak in the roof, try stopping it in order to avoid getting your house flooded. Remember to store all the receipts from the store when buying repair supplies, but keep the expenses reasonable in order to avoid reimbursement denial from the insurance company.

4. List all the items on your property you think are missing or damaged. Ask your family for help, inspecting one room after another and listing all the items that are damaged. It is very important when you have replacement cost coverage, because all of the damaged items will be replaced by new ones even if the old ones were much cheaper in value. Having an inventory list of your property before the damage done will be very helpful for processing the claim so take your time to do that after taking even a cheap home insurance policy.

5. Be patient. In case the damage was caused by a natural disaster with the whole area being affected it may take a longer time for you to get coverage, because those with more serious damage are likely to be covered first. Keep track of what is going on with your claim and speak to your insurance agent from time to time. In case you suspect that your insurance claim is not processed properly and laid off, even if it's cheap home insurance, you should contact your state insurance department with a complaint. This is especially important if the damage to your house makes it impossible to live in it.