After your home has been damaged in a severe storm, burglarized or someone suffered an injury on your property, your first instinct might be to panic. And, while of course no one wants to go through such a negative experience at their own home, it’s important to keep a clear head in these situations.
Remember, this is why you have a homeowner’s insurance policy – for peace of mind that should the unthinkable happen, you have the right level of protection to repair your home, replace your belongings, or cover necessary medical costs to injured parties.
5 Steps to Submitting a Home Insurance Claim
Submitting an insurance claim isn’t something one does on a daily basis, so many people might not know how to get started. There are rules and procedures to follow, which are all spelled out in your policy. However, we understand that those procedures may not be the first thing you’re thinking about after you’ve suffered some type of loss at your home. With that in mind, here are the steps you’ll need to take to submit a home insurance claim:
- Contact your insurance company. Promptly call your insurance company, because there is a time limit on filing claims. You’ll want to ask questions like how much you’re covered for, if your claim exceeds your deductible, what estimates you’ll need for necessary repair work, and how long it will take to process your claim. As a side note, if your home has been broken into, the very first call you’ll want to make will be to the police.
- Evaluate the damage. Make a list of the damages to your home, as well as damaged or missing items. You might even consider taking photos or videotaping the damage. Don’t throw away anything until your insurance company has sent a claims adjuster to your home.
- Make temporary repairs if possible. Take the necessary steps to repair and secure your home from any further damage. Make sure to keep all the receipts so you can submit them to the insurance company for reimbursement. If you need to find alternative living accommodations, keep the records of the expenses you incurred while not living in your home, as many insurance companies will cover “loss of use” of your home.
- Obtain and complete your claim forms. After your insurance company has been notified of your claim, they’ll send the necessary forms out within a specified period of time. Complete those forms and return them as promptly as possible to avoid any delays.
- Arrange for a home inspection. An adjuster will be provided by your insurance company to come and inspect the damage firsthand. This adjuster will not be able to approve your claim, but the insurance company uses the adjuster’s report to process it. Depending on the size of the claim, there may be more than one inspection scheduled.