Best Steps for Claiming Homeowner’s Insurance Claim

As a homeowner, you likely have insurance for the house itself. But what about some other stuff that can get damaged in a hailstorm or fire? For example, what if your roof blows off or lightning strikes your chimney? Luckily, there's also insurance for those things and more. In this guide, we'll walk you through how to successfully claim a major homeowner's insurance claim and get back on track with your life after an unexpected event.

Take Help from Your Contractor

When dealing with a significant insurance settlement, it's best to file a claim with a contractor's help. As an expert in your home, your contractor can help you navigate the intricacies of homeowner's insurance. They know what to look for and expect, so they should handle the claim filing process on your behalf. If the claim is rejected or not paid properly, they can help you fight back and get a better settlement.
It is especially true if the damage is caused by a natural disaster such as a hailstorm or flood. Since these types of disasters are prevalent—and often unpredictable—insurance companies have strict guidelines regarding how they respond. Your contractor will know exactly how these policies work and can use that knowledge to get you the best possible outcome from your claim.

Know What Matters Most in Your Policy

The first step to successfully claiming a homeowner's insurance claim is knowing what matters most in your policy. It means making sure you have enough coverage, that the coverage matches your particular situation, and that the deductible fits with what you can afford. There are three areas of importance:

  • Coverage: Are you insured for all things that could go wrong? For example, if a tree falls on your house and causes damage to it, does your policy cover damage from windstorms or falling trees? If so, how much can it pay toward repairs? Does it cover water damage? If so, up to what amount will they pay for damages caused by burst pipes or leaking roofs?
  • Conditions: Does anything need fixing before filing a claim? The easiest way to determine this is by looking at previous claims against similar policies in similar cities. Some insurers may refuse claims because they see evidence of prior problems (like moldy foundations or roofs) that threaten future ones if left unaddressed. Others might not care as long as they get paid back eventually. Your agent should be able to tell you more about these requirements before filing any documents with an insurer.
  • Deductibles: The deductible is an amount of money that must be spent out-of-pocket before either party begins receiving contributions from the other. Without this clause in place, homeowners would not be incentivized to get their houses cleaned up after some catastrophe happens.

Document Everything

Once you've decided to file a claim, it's time to start gathering documents. The first step is to keep a copy of your insurance policy in a safe place outside your home. It includes any riders and endorsements, as well. If you don't have one already, get in touch with an agent about the available coverage options for your needs and budget.
Keep careful track of everything related to the claim process once it starts moving forward, whether it's emails between yourself and representatives at insurance companies or conversations with contractors doing work after submitting estimates. It may seem like there's too much information coming in all at once, but when things get hectic, being particular about keeping track might save some headaches later down the road.

Take Pictures of Every Little Damage

When you contact your insurance company, they will provide you with forms or ask you to fill out an online form. These forms often contain questions intended to give the insurance company an objective view of the situation, but it is essential that these questions are not answered in isolation. For your claim to be successful, you must include all the details about how and why the damage was caused so that there is no ambiguity about who should be responsible for paying for it.
Take photos of anything related to your claim before submitting it. Any evidence of weather-related damage (such as fallen trees), photographs showing other damage caused by recent events (like chipped siding), and pictures taken from different angles so that anyone looking at them can get a clear idea of what happened. Suppose there are parts of your home or property where water entered during a flood or storm but didn't get damaged. In that case, it's important to photograph them, so they don't get accidentally forgotten later on during negotiations with insurance adjusters.

Create an Itemized List

As soon as you can do so, pull together an itemized list of your damaged property. It should include photos and receipts for any items that have been replaced, temporary repairs (such as tarping), and permanent repairs (such as replacing the roof). You should also include cleaning services if the stormwater has caused damage inside your home.
It's important to note that homeowner's insurance does not cover normal wear-and-tear or "accidental" losses. For example, if a falling tree branch damaged your couch during a tornado, it would not be eligible for coverage under typical homeowners' insurance policies. If this applies to you, mention it on your claim form so that the adjuster knows why certain items were not covered by their policy.

Consider Hiring a Public Adjuster if the Scope of the Damage Is Large

If your home has sustained extensive damage, consider hiring a public adjuster to help you file the claim. If a public adjuster is involved from the beginning of your homeowner's insurance claim, they can assist with negotiations and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your loss. They are also well versed in determining whether or not to pursue litigation and which party should be held liable for any damages. In short, hiring a professional can save time and money on both ends while ensuring that all parties get what they deserve.

Bottomline

When filing a significant homeowner's insurance claim, you'll have a better experience by hiring a contractor to help with the process. The best contractors will be able to help you file an accurate and complete claim, negotiate for fair settlement terms, and provide temporary repairs until your insurer processes the final payment on your behalf.
If you follow these steps and pay attention to detail, your experience will go as smoothly as possible. Remember, the most important thing is that no matter what happens, don't panic. Take a deep breath and remember that everything will turn out okay. It just might take some time for things to get back on track.

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