How To File A Homeowners insurance Claim

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Six steps to help ease the process of filing a homeowners insurance claim.

Having damage occur on or to your property can be a very stressful experience; filing a homeowners insurance claim can often be just as stressful. Following are some tips to help ease the process.

Determine if the damage is covered by your policy.

If you can, the first thing you should do is review your homeowners insurance policy. Find out if the damage your property has sustained is covered, and check to see what your deductible is. If you don’t think the damage will exceed your deductible, then don’t file a claim—unless someone was injured on your property. Then you should always file a claim.

Call your insurance agent as soon as possible after damage has occurred.

Don’t wait to file your claim—most insurance policies include a time limit in which you can file. Call your agent to being the process right away.

Find out what information is needed.

While you’re talking with your agent, ask what information they need from you to process the claim in a timely manner. Ask if you need to obtain estimates for repairs, what forms you need to fill out, and whether an adjuster needs to visit your property to inspect the damage.

Document the damage.

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Don’t begin any major clean-up of damage to your property until you’ve had a chance to document it—and, if possible, until the insurance adjuster has visited your home. Write down everything that was damaged; better yet, take photos or video of the damage. Find receipts, if you still have them, of the damaged items. This will help your claim process and back up the dollar amount you are claiming.

Prevent further damage.

After you’ve documented the damage that has already occurred, take the steps necessary to make temporary repairs to prevent any further damage. Keep receipts of supplies you purchase to make these repairs, and submit them to your insurance agent.

Keep your claim moving.

If there’s been a major disaster in your area, it likely will take time for your homeowners claim to reach settlement. While you’re waiting, however, be sure to check in with your agent regularly to see if any other paperwork or steps are needed to keep the claim process moving. Once you have settled your claim, your insurer is required to send you prompt payment. If you run into issues with processing your claim, or receiving payment, contact your state department of insurance.

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Source: Insurance Information Institute, InsuranceAgents.com, MSN Money, Insure.com
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