Walking through a home insurance claim is a good way to feel comfortable and confident in the policies you budgeted for yourself, should things take a surprise turn.
Let’s dive in. Unexpected surprises are never fun. You’re working hard, staying busy, and boom. Tree falls. Hail storm. Leaky pipe. An insurance claim is something we don’t “plug into our calendar” ahead of time for when disaster strikes. Luckily, unexpected surprises do not have to mean disrupting your schedule.
Best case scenario: you make a phone call to report the claim and let your insurance company work for you to examine the damage, collect your receipts and take it from there.
Worst case: well- we won’t go there. You’re reading this article and are already one step ahead.
Walking Through A Home Insurance Claim
What are the most common types of home insurance claims, by percentage? Here’s the list from most common to least common reasons to submit a claim.*
Wind + Hail – 38%
Fire + Lightning – 35%
Water Damage + Freezing – 20%
Non-Theft Property Damage – 4% (fallen tree, stray golf ball through your window, etc)
Liability – 2% (If a guest is injured or has property damage while on YOUR property)
Theft – 1%
*Statistics were collected from data during 2013-2017 gathered by the Insurance Information Institute.
YOUR HOME WAS DAMAGED
If emergency personnel had to be called to the scene, get the official okay to re-enter your home, collect personal items and do your own walk-through.
Expect to have your information ready. As emotionally trying as this time may be, have your data at your fingertips ready to be read off to your agent including: contact information, policy information, type of loss, date of loss, description of loss. You’ll be assigned what’s called an adjuster who will work with you throughout the claim process.
If you have your home inventory list stored on the cloud, this may be a good time to open up the file to review.
Ensure further damage is not imminent, especially if dealing with roof damage, fire hazards, any openings from the exterior, etc.
“Can I enter my home again, thanks!”
STARTING THE CLAIM
Call to report the claim as soon as you are safely able to. Have your insurance company phone number and policy # on hand, even saved in your speed dial if that makes you feel more secure. In an emergency, if you’re able to do as little digging for information is possible, it may help you collect your thoughts quicker.
Inspecting the damage.Give a description of what happened and make a time for a professional to visit your home to do an inspection.
Document your losses. Using photos or videos can help you remember things that you may have lost. If you don’t have an inventory, look for photos of the damaged areas. You’ll want to make a list of everything damaged inside your home.
Save all receipts. Just save everything from the time form when the event happened until the claim is completed. You never know what your insurance will be able to cover, from temporary housing arrangements, repairs or grey-area costs.
Report, Inspect, Document, Save
Say it with us!
NEED TO RELOCATE?
“Loss of use” meaning you’re not able to live in your home after whatever damage incurred. Your policy may very well reimburse costs such as hotel, car rental, and other expenses. Look into your policy to check for this coverage.
Temporary housing references may be helpful and available when loss of use of your home is the case including service providers like hotels.
Call us directly if you have questions about this section of your homeowners policy, so we can review with you.
Anything in Florida available, “temporarily?” Just asking.
LET’S RESOLVE THIS
While time-frames for a claim will vary, it depends on the inspection of damage and details of the loss. Every situation is a little different, but your adjustor should be there to work with you along the way to help move it along as quickly as possible.
Collect payment. Once the claim professional determines that your policy covers the loss, you can generally expect to receive a check based on an estimate of the damage, either on the spot or soon afterward.
Protect your home the way it protects you by choosing the property insurance coverage that meets your needs.
In conclusion, it is in your best interest to call you insurance agent at least on an annual basis to review your policies. Ensure you are covered in every area that you are comfortable with, for the sake of your own mental sanity and for the protection of your loved ones. We will also walk you through parts of the policy that you might not think of off hand.
We’re here to help you prepare for the unexpected so that when it comes, it really isn’t that surprising at all.
That is what we call having peace.
- J. M. Whitney Insurance is an independent insurance agency located in Watertown, Massachusetts. Give us a call, stop by, or request a quote online to find out how much we can save you on your insurance.
If you liked this blog, stay tuned for more from J.M. Whitney Insurance.