Information on Home Insurance Claims
Notification & Temporary Repairs
- Immediately notify your insurance company in the event of a loss or damage (all have 24-hour hot lines); if your home needs immediate assistance to stop further damage from occurring, insurance companies can instantly authorize the temporary repair work to keep things going from bad to worse.
- Each homeowner policy carries one or more deductibles (usually a minimum of $250). Be sure to understand what portion of the repairs you will be responsible for paying when filing a claim. if you are unsure of your policy limits, your claims person will be able to look up the information for you.
- Be sure to have a copy of the police report if your home was vandalized or any property stolen. If the damage to your home was caused by a vehicle, you will also need to file a police report. Your insurance company will ask for it.
Document Damages & Loss
- As important as it is to document any damage to your home before cleaning up the mess, it is equally important to have photographs and receipts pertaining to your home contents before any damage occurred. Keeping copies of these records in paper or digital form in a place you can easily access outside of your home (such as an e-mail account or safe deposit box) could make all the difference toward a quick and happy resolution to your claim.
- Once you have filed a claim, a claims adjuster will be assigned to investigate your case. Most adjusters make contact within 48 hours. Sometimes a claim will be assigned to a field adjuster who will come out to your home to assess the damages. Most companies settle claims in a fairly efficient manner. If you feel the claim is not being settled appropriately, you may contact your state department of insurance to lodge a complaint.
- It is always a good idea to get a few estimates on the damage yourself. Often, in the case of smaller losses, the insurance adjuster will opt to pay the claim immediately if you have already done the legwork.
- On average, homeowners file a claim once every nine years. If your insurance company sees you as an above-average risk they may opt for non-renewal of your policy at the end of the term. It is important not to file a lot of small, inconsequential claims, as you will lose policy discounts and may see a bump in premium. It is also often difficult to get insurance with a new company if you have multiple insurance claims in a three- to five-year period. In the long run it could end up costing you more than if you made the small repairs yourself.