Whether your home has sustained damage from a burst pipe or an unexpected hail storm, it is likely that filing a claim with your insurance company will be at the top of your priority list. However, if this is a first time experience, you might not know exactly what to do. The process isn’t too complicated, and you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs by following these simple steps.
- Review and analyze your homeowner’s insurance policy. Mark the sections relevant to your situation and any instructions or requirements. Look for the deductible amount you need to pay and the amount of time you have to file the claim.
- It is a really good idea to check in with your insurance agent to review the pros and cons of filing a claim - and what makes sense for you. Your agent will likely help you with the insurance company filing process.
- Call several local contractors to come out and give an estimate of what it will cost to fix the damage. Once you have at least three estimates, compare the costs between the contractors and your deductible amount.
- Choose a contractor and set up a time to have the damage repaired. Make sure the claims adjuster (not the agent) gives you the okay to start repairs.
- Photograph all damage, both before it is repaired and after it is repaired.
- Have the damage repaired and keep any receipts relating to the damage. Make copies of the receipts so you don’t have to give away originals.
- Keeping a detailed report of the incident itself, all repairs made, all contact with a claims adjuster, etc. helps avoid disputes. Date every entry you make.
To ensure that you have an easy and painless claims process during this stressful time, you need to keep two things in mind above all others. One, document, document, document – keep good notes. Two, work closely with your agent and the adjuster to make sure everyone is happy and on the same page. If you do this, your claim will likely be paid and you can get everything back to normal as quickly as possible.
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