Do you know how to file a claim after a disaster strikes?
Homeowners want to get their house back to normal as quickly as possible so they can resume their lives. Even if the damage is localized to one part of the house, like the living room or kitchen, for example, it can still be stressful. And if the damage is extensive enough, then the house occupants might need to live somewhere else until all the proper repairs can be made. Whatever the case, you’ll want to make a homeowners insurance claim as soon as possible.
The first step is to simply ensure your safety. Assess whether or not you can remain in your home. Before you to clean up or touch anything, document all the damage to your home with pictures and/or video and making a list of all the damage. This will make it easier for your insurance company to estimate the cost of the damage so you can get a fair reimbursement. You will also want to keep track of all your expenses related to the damage. For example, if you need to replace necessary items right away, keep the sales receipt with your records so you can include it as part of your claim. Other expenses might include having to stay in a hotel because your home is uninhabitable.
Before you contact your insurance company, it’s important that you read over your policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute, if you have a high deductible, it might be easier to pay for the repairs yourself. That said, even what looks like minor damage can actually end up costing thousands of dollars to repair or replace. Water damage can be especially tricky because even after the carpet or floor boarding is replaced, you still might need mold remediation, which can add additional expenses.
What To Do After Your Homeowners Insurance Claim Is Filed
Once you file your claim, your insurance company will usually send out an insurance adjuster. An adjuster is a representative that will talk with you and inspect the damage to your home in order to come up with an estimate for the damages. Be sure to show the adjuster any photos/videos you have taken right after the disaster, and have your list handy of damaged items that need replacing. This will help the adjuster’s job much easier and more efficient. This will also show the adjuster what the damage looked like before you made any emergency repairs to prevent further damage.
Once the adjuster is done, you’ll usually have to wait to see how much the insurance company will pay you. Some insurance companies will give you a certain amount of money up front for basic necessities like food, but it depends on the company and your insurance plan. The length of time you have to wait for the insurance company to approve your claim and pay really depends on your state. Every state has different laws regulating how long insurance has to pay claims.
Assuming the claim is approved, you can then hire an emergency repair service come out to start fixing your damaged home. Hopefully, this information will help you know how to file a claim so you can get your life back on track after a disaster.