How to File a Homeowners’ Insurance Claim
Apr 04 2020
To receive an insurance settlement for covered losses, you need to file a claim. There are a few things the Insurance Information Institute recommends you do when filing a claim:
- Call your insurance agent as soon as possible to tell them what happened and the extent of the damage. Some policies require notification within a certain timeframe, so don’t delay! Your agent will explain your options and file your claim. An adjuster will also be sent to your home to assess the damage.
- Document your losses and expenses. You can do this by:
- Taking pictures and/or video of the damages (as long as it’s safe to do so)
- Making a list of the damages to your home and belongings
- Keeping receipts of any living expenses you incur if you’re forced out of your home, so you can submit them for possible reimbursement
- Make emergency repairs. To prevent further damage, think about what temporary, inexpensive repairs you might be able to safely make. If, for example, a pipe is broken, call a plumber right away. Make sure to save your receipts in case your policy covers emergency repair costs – and make sure to ask about them when filing your claim.
- Get repair estimates from multiple contractors, making sure to work with a reputable company. (Unfortunately, scammers often surface following a large disaster.) If a contractor tells you it will cost more to rebuild your home or repair the damages than the insurance adjustor’s original estimate, let your insurance agent know.
Note: If you have a mortgage, you and your mortgage lender may be named on the settlement check. Your lender might hold the funds in an escrow account until the contractor needs to be paid.
Some claims are resolved quickly, while others can take months. The better prepared you are, the easier the process will be.
Pro tips to speed up the claims process:
- Keep your insurance policy updated
- Maintain a home inventory
This is something you need to do before disaster strikes. It might take some time now, but will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.
A home inventory is a documentation of your belongings. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to go throughout your home, taking a video of what you own. Include each item’s value and the serial numbers of appliances, if possible. Make sure you keep your inventory somewhere you can easily access it – even if your home is destroyed.
Bell Insurance Services, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bell Bank. Products and services offered through Bell Insurance are: Not FDIC Insured | No Bank Guarantee | May Lose Value | Not A Deposit | Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency.