With 315 reported natural disasters and over 10,000 deaths occurring in 2018, the odds of your home being damaged are getting higher and higher. Have you gone through your homeowner’s insurance policy lately?
Do you know what kind of coverage you have? Does it cover all types of damage you may incur? Are you underinsured?
In this article, we tell you how to file a home insurance claim that won’t be denied in the aftermath of a disaster. Whether it be natural or something your teenage son and his friends did to the house.
Read Your Policy
This is the first step for any insurance claim. The best time to do this, however, is prior to the emergency situation. Make sure you understand your full benefits and what is covered.
The worst-case scenario is facing a problem and depending on the insurance policy to cover it only to find out you’re underinsured. Scour the policy and go through every scenario you can think of.
Cover all the basics first, flood, fire, trees falling on your house, etc. If any of these main issues are not covered get extra insurance.
Take a Detailed Inventory
This is another step that is best performed before you obtain your policy but, we understand that’s not always possible. As soon as possible make a detailed inventory of everything in your home.
All electronics, furniture, jewelry, office equipment, toys, clothes, etc. If you’ve only written down that you have one television and your house is robbed how will you know the serial numbers of the other 3 TVs?
The only sure-fire way of accounting for everything after an emergency is by having a detailed list of everything you have. This way you can provide identifying information to the police and an accurate number figure in losses to the insurance.
Remember, you should also provide this inventory to your insurance company. Do a yearly update of the list and provide them with the most recent updates.
The insurance company is far more likely to believe you have a $7000 high-speed gaming computer if it has been on their books with photos and serial numbers for 5 years.
Call the Police If There’s Been a Crime
Always call the police if you think there’s been a crime. Even if nothing looks like forced entry. If suddenly your grandmother’s $20,000 diamond ring is missing a criminal could’ve targeted you just for that item.
A complete police report will also back up the validity of your insurance claim and make it more likely to be approved.
Contact Your Insurance Company ASAP
Once you’ve finished with the police call the insurance company as soon as you’re able. Ask them for the correct information you need to provide and give them an explanation of what’s occurred.
The worst thing to do is guess and go through all the complications of an insurance claim only to realize you filled out the wrong form. Have a professional give you exactly what you need to gather and provide for your claim.
They can also tell you exactly what kind of coverage your policy has before you waste time filing for something that isn’t covered.
Gather All The Data and Fill Out The Forms Quickly
Once you know what you need to provide don’t sit back on your laurels. Gather the information and fill out those forms.
Pay attention to the details. Any minor mistakes could result in a denied claim. Flipping two numbers around in an address is a big deal. Make sure to go over everything a couple of times before you file.
If you need help with the claims process, this claims company and others will help file the claim for you.
Determine What Type of Damages You’re Filing For
Depending on the incident in question you could have a number of different damages. Make sure you’re covered on all fronts by determining which kind of damages you have suffered.
Damages to Your Home Itself or Other Surrounding Structures
This is something like a tree falling onto your roof in a wind storm or tornado. Maybe a bear ripped apart your mother-in-law suite in the backyard.
Your pool house got trampled by elephants. Whatever it is, this claim will deal with damage to the actual home itself and the structures on your property.
This claim does not deal with the damage of your belongings in relation to the property damage.
Personal Property Loss or Damage
This claim deals with the things inside your home and the structures on your property. Expensive purses, destroyed furniture, etc.
This is where that inventory comes in. After any damaging event, go through the entire inventory and locate the item. If you’re unable to find it make sure it’s included in the claim and included in the covered items in your policy.
Personal Liability or Medical Payments
If you have a trampoline in your backyard and the neighbor’s kid breaks his leg on it your homeowner’s insurance will take the hit for covering that claim.
This is a personal liability claim. Whenever someone is injured on your property this is the part of the insurance that covers that. Make sure to have lots of documentation and clarify what you need to provide with the insurance company.
You Paid for the Policy; Make Sure You Know How to File a Home Insurance Claim to Get the Full Benefit of It
No one ever expects a disaster, or a break-in, or a major accident. But, when you find yourself facing one you don’t want to have to worry about figuring out the legalese of your homeowner’s insurance policy.
We hope this article has clued you in how to file a home insurance claim, what to do in the case of an emergency, and preparations to make to get the full benefit of your policy should anything happen.
Check out the rest of our blog for other great reads!