If you have suffered major damage to your home, it is likely that you have many questions about how to file a home insurance claim. AllCity Adjusting is here to help! In this article you will not only find a step-by-step list of how to file a home insurance claim, but you will also learn the “why” behind each step.
How to File a Home Insurance Claim
First and foremost, READ YOUR POLICY. Knowing what you are and are not covered for will help you through this process. Don’t know how to read your policy? No problem! AllCity Adjusting has a team of insurance experts who can help. Call us today! Once you understand your coverage, follow this step-by-step guide and you will know exactly how to file a home insurance claim.
The Hardest Part of Filing a Home Insurance Claim
Collecting the evidence is the hardest part of filing your claim. At this point it is hard to even collect your thoughts. Staying calm and being very thorough during this phase is very important.
- Report any crime to the police. If a crime such as theft, burglary or vandalism is the cause for your claim, you must report it to the authorities immediately. Because some home insurance policies require a police report upon filing such a claim, it is important to make this the first step. Be very thorough here and document everything. In addition, take down the names of all the law enforcement officers that you speak with. Then, request a copy of the police report. You may need to provide this information to your insurance company in order to support your claim
- Call your insurance carrier. Next, you need to call your insurance company to report the incident. The insurance company will then assign you a claim number and schedule for an adjuster to come and inspect your home. This adjuster is a representative of the insurance company and works on their behalf. The adjuster will interview you and inspect the property. In addition, he or she will assess the damage and estimate the cost of repair. In short, their job is to tell the insurance company how much money to give you for repair or replacement of your property. If you know how to file a home insurance claim, you will have the upper hand.
- Document EVERYTHING. Certainly, providing proof that the incident took place is one of the most important steps. Evidence of a house fire is near impossible to deny. However, it is more difficult to provide proof of water damage without photos. Take pictures and videos of everything, from all angles. It is also very important to have an inventory of all your lost or damaged belongings. Create a detailed, itemized list of everything that was damaged. Notably, this list should include the following information:
Itemized Inventory List
-what the item is
-what brand it is
-how much you paid for it (provide receipts if possible)
-how old it is (what year was it manufactured)
-is it new or used
Go room by room to create your list. Taking photos and videos can help during this process. Looking at photos can jog your memory about what was in a certain room. Your list should contain furniture, accessories, items in drawers, kitchen utensils, housewares, clothing, drapery, electronics, jewelry, toys, linens and toiletries. You should even include prescription medication, over the counter medication and groceries. As it happens, documented proof can mean the difference between settling your claim and your claim being denied. Finally, make copies of all documentation. Send the copies to your carrier. Never send the originals.
The Most Important Part of Filing a Home Insurance Claim
You have just gone through the hardest part of the claim process. Now, you’re onto the most important and crucial part.
- Make Temporary Repairs. You may need to make some repairs to prevent further damage or to make your home livable. If a tree put a hole in your roof, you will need to tarp it to prevent further water damage. House fire? You will need to board up your windows. Sitting water from a burst pipe? You will need to hire a mitigation company to get rid of the water. There are a number of reasons to why you should make temporary repairs. Fortunately, most policies will reimburse you for these costs. All you need to do is keep all of the receipts and documentation and make copies. Then, submit them to your insurance company. Again, make copies of the originals and send those to your carrier. Never send originals!
- Find temporary housing. Without a doubt, your and your family’s comfort and safety is a major priority. If you’re forced to find other accommodations because your home is severely damaged, keep all records and receipts. Most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for such instances. Additional Living Expenses or ALE provisions allow policyholders to secure temporary housing while their home is being rebuilt. For example, you may find a hotel to stay in or a condo to rent. Keep record of payment for such accommodations and you will receive reimbursement. Of course, provided your policy includes such coverage. The ALE provisions can also include restaurant tabs. Oftentimes, ALE coverage will apply towards groceries as well. ALE does not cover all living expenses but it will cover the increase over normal living expenses. Therefore, it is beyond important for you to know and understand your home insurance policy. Know your coverage!
The Most Important Step
Hire a Public Adjuster. Above all, this is quite possibly the most important step when filing a home insurance claim. It is crucial to hire a public adjuster. They are licensed adjusters with extensive knowledge of insurance policies and claims. A PA or PIA, as they are commonly referred to, will be able to read and interpret your insurance policy to better assist you during the claim process. Again, as previously mentioned, the adjuster that the insurance company will send out to inspect the damages works for the insurance company. That means they have the insurance company’s best interest in mind, NOT YOURS. Whereas a public adjuster advocates for you, the insured. You hire the public adjuster and they work for you to get you the maximum settlement from your home insurance claim. Hiring a public adjuster will guarantee more money in your pocket. Additionally, it will give you peace of mind during the entire claim process. That, in itself, is priceless. Overall, it is not only necessary to have an advocate on your side during the claim process, it is a MUST! AllCity Adjusting can help with all of your insurance claim needs. We can answer any questions you have. Ultimately, the best way to learn how to file a home insurance claim is to read your policy. However, hiring a public adjuster to help is the most sensible and financially responsible solution. Don’t take on this burden alone. Call AllCity Adjusting today. We are here for YOU!
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