- Check Your Claim Cost
- Know What Your Policy Covers
- Document the Damage
- Think Through Priorities
- Get a Second Estimate if Needed
There’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with homeowner’s insurance. You’ve already experienced significant damage to your home that needs to be dealt with. Now, you have to wrestle with the company that you’ve paid religiously in order to ensure that they’ll pay for the repairs, rather than denying your claim. These tips for getting through a homeowner’s insurance claim will help you keep your cool and get the resolution you need for your claim.
Check Your Claim Cost
Before you ever file a homeowner’s insurance claim, make sure that it’s worth it! Minor repairs to your home, known as incidentals, often have the same deductible as a major claim–and while your insurance company may pay out, they will also raise your premiums as a result. Before filing a claim, make sure it’s worth the time and expense you’re going to spend on it. In many cases, you may find that it’s more practical to go ahead and pay for the repairs for yourself. On the other hand, if you’ve experienced substantial damage and have a major claim, that’s exactly what your insurance is there to cover!
Know What Your Policy Covers
Before you call in to make a claim, save yourself a great deal of trouble and check out what your policy actually covers. Many policies may not cover things like earthquake damage. You may find that your policy doesn’t cover flood problems, especially if you’re in a flood-prone area and didn’t take out a separate rider on your policy. Before you dive into a home insurance nightmare, go ahead and take the time to read through your policy to find out whether or not your claim is appropriate. Note that water damage is often a tricky concern. When in doubt, talk with your insurance agent to find out more.
Document the Damage
When you discover that your home has been turned into a disaster area, your first response is often to start trying to clean up the damage. Everything you can clean up is a step in the right direction, right? As you’re putting your home back together, however, it’s important that you document the damage for your insurance company’s records. Make sure that you:
- Take pictures of damaged items and areas before cleanup begins
- Take detailed shots of severely damaged areas. General pictures aren’t enough!
- Include personal property damage in your documentation. This includes everything from clothing to electronics.
Think Through Priorities
Many people choose to cut corners on their home insurance policies–often to their detriment. Before you start making repairs to your property or making purchases to replace lost items, make sure you know what kind of settlement you’re going to receive. Note that the actual value of items may be significantly lower than the replacement cost, so in spite of your insurance, you might not be able to replace everything immediately. Ask yourself these questions:
- What items or repairs are highest priority?
- What items or repairs are needed in order to make the house liveable or a room usable?
- What items or repairs can be lived without?
By carefully thinking through your priorities during the home repair process, you’ll find that you’re in a better position to make responsible decisions that will guide you throughout the process after you receive the funds from your insurance claim.
Get a Second Estimate if Needed
If you’re struggling with the estimate of your settlement under your homeowner’s insurance policy, check your rights under your insurance policy and your state’s local laws. In many cases, you may be able to get a second estimate performed by an independent agent that you’ve chosen yourself. This estimate can help raise the amount owed to you by your insurance company and make it easier for you to take care of repairs to your home. Note that the appeals process may take time, and that in the meantime, you may not be able to make those needed repairs to your home.
Dealing with homeowner’s insurance may be frustrating, but it’s also well worth it. In many cases, they’ll take the stress out of taking care of those repairs to your home. By following these tips, you’ll discover that it’s easier to work with your insurance company.
Related Resource: Top 10 Cheap Homeowner’s Insurance Companies