If you ever find yourself in the position of having to file a home insurance claim, you might be feeling a little stressed out. Whether it’s a fire, water damage, a fallen tree that damaged your roof, or a burglary, filing that home insurance claim might have you pulling your hair out a little. It might seem like a very intimidating thing. Maybe downright scary. But we’ve got some pro tips to help you through the process of filing that home insurance claim.
10 pro tips for filing a home insurance claim.
1. Stay safe.
You might not be at home when the loss happens, and you might come home to a burned, smashed, or soggy house. The first thing you’ve got to do is stay safe. Don’t take any chances – the home might not be safe to enter. Take care. Contact the appropriate emergency services to help you. They can offer advice on how to proceed. If you see any downed power lines, be super extra careful and call the utility company.
And remember, don’t hang around if it really doesn’t seem safe.
2. Let your insurance company know what happened.
Your home insurance covers many different perils and losses. You need to let your insurance company know that you’ve had a loss and need to file a claim. They’re going to want to know what happened. They’ll help you out with the next steps for filing the claim and they’ll put you in touch with a claims handler.
That’s actually the perfect segue to our next tip…
3. Take notes when you talk to the claims handler.
Make sure you write down the name of the claims handler, and get their phone number, too. You’ll probably need to be in touch with them quite a bit in the upcoming…however long, so make it easy for yourself. Jot down some notes about what you talked about and write down the date and time.
4. And then continue to be a note-taking pro.
Sharpen your pencils and grab some paper. Take notes about everything to do with the claim and any contact you have with the insurance company. Write down the date, time, agent/adjuster/claims handler you’ve been speaking with, and what the conversation was about. Organize these notes so you can actually make sense of them and keep them in a safe place.
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5. If you can do so safely, protect the home from further damage.
Your home insurance policy might require that you have to protect your home from further damage after a loss if it’s safe to do so. If you can safely protect your home, you might need to do things like covering exposed areas with tarps and boarding up windows.
6. Make a list of the belongings that have been destroyed or lost.
It’s also important to have a list of the belongings and items that have been lost and need to be replaced. That’s why it’s super helpful to have a home inventory – you’ll know exactly what you need to add to your list and the value of these items. (And if you happen to have access to receipts of any major items, you can unearth them so you can show them to your insurance company.)
7. Leave all the damaged items in the home.
Don’t take any of the damaged items out of the house. The adjuster will need to see everything the way it is. If you can, you can take pictures or videos of the scene and the damage to keep for your own reference – could be helpful someday.
8. If you have to live elsewhere, save receipts from additional living expenses.
You might have to move out of your home and stay somewhere else if your home isn’t habitable because of the loss. If that’s the case, keep any receipts from your temporary accommodations, restaurant bills, and any other expenses that are above and beyond your normal living costs. The additional living expenses section of your home insurance might cover the expenses you accrue because you can’t stay at your home.
9. Fill out the paperwork.
The claims adjuster will probably send over some paperwork and documents that you have to fill out. You might have a deadline for these things, so make sure to be mindful of that and get the paperwork back to the proper person ASAP.
10. Call your mortgage lender and tell them about the loss.
You’ll also have to tell your mortgage lender about the loss. They’ll probably talk to you about getting a contractor for rebuilding or repairing the home. And they might also want to inspect the contractor’s work before they make the final payments. Anyways, let them know what happened and find out what you need to do as far as a contractor is concerned.
Of course, we hope that your home never gets hurt. But it’s helpful to know what you need to do if you ever have to file a home insurance claim. Take these tips into account if you ever have to undertake the seemingly monumental task of filing a home insurance claim.
And if you need to get home insurance quotes, we can help. Our agents are pros at helping homeowners get great coverage at a great rate. We’re also determined to make home insurance easy. Get started with your home insurance quotes by filling out our online quote form or giving us a call today.