Written by Andy Gurczak

September 14, 2021

Filing an Insurance Claim: Learn the Process

Guide to Filing a Successful Property Insurance Claim.

Property insurance, like homeowners insurance, for example, covers your property and belongings in the event of damage or theft. Therefore, if your property suffers damage from a fire or storm, you’ll need to file an insurance claim. Likewise, in case of stolen or vandalized property, filing an insurance claim will also be necessary.

However, before filing a property insurance claim, look over your policy to ensure it covers the damage you’re claiming. It’s also a good idea to get familiar with specific policy details like your deductible and how they calculate your payout. Finally, if your policy language is a little unclear, consider hiring a public adjuster to help out with filing your insurance claim.

Once you know if the damage or loss is covered, it’s time to file a claim with your insurance company. Most insurance companies have a time limit to file a claim. For example, some insurers might require you to submit claims within a year of the incident. Meanwhile, others have a six-month timeframe. Read on ahead to learn more about the entire property insurance filing process.

Filing an Insurance Claim Lady Filing

How Does Filing an Insurance Claim Work?

Calling your insurance company may not be the first thing you think to do after a fire, storm, theft, or any other unfortunate incident. But suppose you do think your policy covers you for the damage. In that case, it’s important to notify your insurer as quickly as possible. This is both for safety reasons and to get started on the claim process.

When you call your insurance company, be sure to have as many details as possible about what caused the loss. However, although it’s essential to be honest on your claim, you need to be careful not to suggest you are at fault for the damage or loss. Doing so could significantly impact the outcome of your claim.

Moreover, remember that the property insurance claim filing process tends to vary a bit depending on the insurance company and the type of claim you’re filing. Regardless, there are few steps that you’ll generally want to go through with.

First, Filing a Police Report

Not all insurance claims must be reported to local authorities. For example, wind damage is certainly not an appropriate reason to contact the police. But suppose criminal activity is the cause for the damage or loss. In that case, you need to get the authorities involved as soon as possible. For instance, if the damage was caused by fire or vandalism, call the police likewise, if someone is injured on your property.

When the authorities arrive, ensure to share all pertinent details of the events, including testimonies. Also, make sure to know the name of the policemen who assisted you and keep copies of their reports. You will need those when filing your insurance claim.

Filing an Insurance Claim Contacting Insurer

Second, Contact your Insurance Company for Filing an Insurance Claim

Your next call should be to your insurance company or agent. In fact, most policies require that the insurance company be notified promptly after any damage, loss or injury. Although that doesn’t necessarily mean immediately, the sooner you call, the sooner the recovery process will begin. In addition, your insurer will specify how you need to report your damage or loss.

In addition to calling your insurance company or insurance agent directly, some insurers let you contact them online or through an app. However, unless you’re making a minor claim, it’s probably best to speak directly with a company representative.

Be sure to read through your policy before making the call, so you have an idea of what is and isn’t covered, as well as what additional coverages you might be entitled to. As mentioned before, hiring a public adjuster is a great way for getting to understand your policy. A public adjuster can even help you determine if you need to file a claim at all. For instance, if you have a minor claim where the cost of your loss is less than your deductible, it’s probably best not to file a claim.

When you’re ready to notify your insurer of the damage, have your copy of the policy and a list of questions at hand. Describe the damage, and confirm whether or not you’re covered. Don’t be shy with questions, and try to get a clear picture of what’s ahead.

Then, Fill Out the Claim Forms. This is Crucial When Filing an Insurance Claim

After notifying your insurance company, you’ll need to fill out the claim documents your insurer will provide you with. For example, one of the documents you’ll likely need to fill out is your proof-of-loss form. You’ll provide:

  • Your personal information.
  • The cause of the loss.
  • The part of your property you’re claiming a loss on.
  • The estimated loss amount.

Make sure you submit photo or video evidence of the damage at this time. Moreover, in case of the damaged or stolen property providing receipts, a list, or a property inventory that confirms the value and ownership of the items will improve your chances of getting fully reimbursed.

Document Every Step of Your Property Insurance Claim Process is of Most Importance

Keep records of every phone call and conversation you have as you go through your insurance claim process, starting from the event that triggered the claim. Doing so can help negotiate settlements and accelerate the claim. Remember to include the date of conversations and the names of the people you talk to, from police officers to insurance company representatives to contractors who provide estimates. Make sure to also take brief notes of the topics discussed and keep track of emails and texts.

Filing an Insurance Claim Make Temporary Repairs

Meanwhile, Make Temporary Repairs

Insurance claims generally don’t cover further damage that resulted from the aftermath of the original incident. So you’ll want to make sure that any openings or damage to the structure of your home won’t result in more loss. For example, if you notice a leak, make temporary repairs and hold onto the receipts. Most insurance companies reimburse you the cost of these repairs. However, avoid throwing out damaged items until the adjuster has visited your home, and make sure to inform your insurer of these temporary fixes.

After Filing an Insurance Claim, Prepare for the Insurance Adjuster’s Visit.

Depending on the type of damage, your claim may also require a visit from the insurance adjuster, especially for claims involving damage to the structure of your home. The adjuster’s role is to assess the damage and confirm several details before reimbursement can proceed. The inspection may include but isn’t limited to verifying coverage, inspecting the structure, collecting necessary documentation, and conducting thorough interviews. Be prepared to show the adjuster any structural damage and have a list of damaged items ready so you can make the best use of the time. The top goals of the adjuster are estimating damage and avoiding insurance fraud.

Obtain Your Own Repair or Rebuild Estimates when Filing an Insurance Claim

Insurance adjusters are often quite friendly, reassuring, and comforting. However, remember they work for the insurance company, and they are there to benefit the insurer. For this reason, you’ll want to get your damage estimates in order to make sure the settlement they offer you is according to the damage. Having repair or rebuild estimates from licensed contractors or a public adjuster could give leverage if your insurance company low-balls your settlement amount.

Filing an Insurance Claim Money

Finally, at the End of The Filing and Insurance Claim Process, You’ll Receive the Claim Payout and Complete Repairs.

Once your claim is approved, and you and the adjuster have agreed to the settlement amount, you’ll receive the insurance payout. Suppose you have a mortgage on your property. In that case, the insurance company issues the payment to the lender listed on the insurance policy. They will then endorse the check and give you the green light for the repairs process to begin. Moreover, if you’re insured for personal property at its replacement cost, you’ll usually receive a check for the properties’ actual cash value. After you replace the property, you’ll receive the remaining amount.

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At AllCity Adjusting we help residential and commercial clients alike get the claims support they need. Moreover, we have over 50 years of combined experience helping get our clients the max settlement time and time again. If your claim has been low balled or denied entirely we can help increase your maximum settlement. Call us today for a FREE consultation. Experience the AllCity difference.

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