The Importance of Understanding How to File Homeowner’s Claims
So you’ve just had a tree fall down on your house and crash through the ceiling. Now what? Lack of preparation and knowledge of the claims process is the last thing you need at a nerve-wracking time like this! Knowing how to file a homeowner’s insurance claim, having your insurance agent and your insurance companies’ contact information available can save you a lot of time and heartache should the worst happen.
Reporting the Claim
You’ll want to have your claims customer service number located within your policy documents in a secure place where you can access it easily. Many homeowners’ insurance companies will mail you a policy once coverage is bound. There also should be access to a digital copy of your policy and associated documents under their website. Once you purchase a homeowners policy it’s a good idea to store this information in the cloud or a safe location that will not get damaged from flood or fire.
At I H S we specifically look for home insurance carriers that have their own in house claims service and knowledgeable claims adjusters in house versus carriers that farm out the claims process to a third party. These carriers that process claims in the house tend to manage the claims service much more expeditiously and efficiently than do the 3rd parties.
So, if the worst happens your insurance agent can get you into contact directly with the claims department or, you can contact them directly. Most of the carriers we work will have a 24/7 365 day claims call center that will take your call and promptly process your claim no matter what location you are in. It is extremely important you make the call to your agent or insurance company as soon as you possibly can. This will allow your companies’ licensed adjusters to assess your damages and ensure your home does not experience further damage and allow your company to complete the claim to your satisfaction much faster than if you delay reporting the claim.
Protecting Your Property Against Further Damage
It’s important to protect your property in and around your home from further damage so long as it is safe for you to do so. This could mean placing a tarp over an exposed area to prevent rain damage or moving furniture and other personal property out of the way should you experience water damage. Feel free to make temporary repairs to be considered for reimbursement. However, be sure to save your receipts for these repairs and do not attempt to make any permanent repairs until after the adjuster has had a chance to inspect the damage. If water damage has occurred, the first step is to stop the flow of water and dry out your home.
Several of our quality carriers have enhanced water damage benefits under their policies that will send water extraction companies to your home to extract water at no charge or obligation to you, even if the coverage is ultimately not afforded under the policy.
Other Actions You Can Take to Protect Yourself and Property
Your licensed field adjuster will certainly take photos of the damage while they are on site. However, your own photos can assist the adjuster in accessing the extent of the damage before they arrive, making their job easier and allowing for less potential mistakes in properly and accurately evaluating your property damage. It also makes sense to keep personal records in case there is some sort of discrepancy down the road.
Also, do not discard any damaged property until the licensed adjuster has inspected the property in person. If your claim is theft related, first call the police to file a police report, then immediately contact your insurance company to report the loss. Always maintain receipts of any expenses incurred by you in protecting your personal belongings and, be sure to make a detailed list of all your damaged property prior to the adjusters’ arrival. A list will ensure nothing is overlooked. If possible, record the manufacturer, dates of purchase, and model numbers for your adjuster.
Getting Help With Your Homeowner’s Claims
During a named storm event we will have employees on hand taking calls 24/7 in order to make our client’s insurance experience as smooth and simple as possible by facilitating the claim with the insurance carriers. If you’d like a quote on a home, auto, flood, or umbrella policy please feel free to reach out to our Property division at 281-909-4385.