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Understanding the Claims Process:
Your home was just damaged from a severe storm or fire. What should you do? Who should be notified? These are just a few of the concerns expected from a homeowner facing a major loss. By having a general understanding of how insurance claims are handled prior to filing one yourself, you’ll likely be better prepared going into the process. The following tips are provided to educate and inform you about how you might handle a claim:
- Promptly notify your insurance company or agent of your loss.
- Make emergency, temporary repairs only to protect your home from further damage. In order to reduce additional damages, board up broken windows and cover holes in roof or walls. Select a mitigation contractor to extract water from carpet. Keep receipts associated with any temporary repairs.
- Protect personal property from further damage by separating items that can be cleaned and/or repaired. Don’t throw away damaged property unless instructed to do so by your insurance adjuster.
- If a loss forces you to obtain a temporary residence, be sure to inform your adjuster. Keep all receipts associated with temporary housing, meals and other miscellaneous expenses.
- Make a detailed list and description of damage, including photographs, if possible. Collect your cancelled checks, receipts and other documents to help the adjuster set a value on damaged or destroyed property.
- If your property requires a reconstruction contractor, have your contractor-of-choice get an agreed figure with your insurance adjuster.
Other Claims Settling Tips:
- Track all expenses associated with the loss. They may be reimbursable under your homeowners insurance policy. One example is any expenses incurred in making temporary repairs in order to protect against additional damage.
- Keep copies of all your paperwork for future reference. Also, keep good notes on conversations with your insurance company and adjuster.
- You have the right to choose the contractor. Your insurer may provide you with a list of pre-approved contractors to save time and hassle, or you may be asked to obtain written estimates from a few licensed contractors of your own choosing. Regardless of the procedure, the policyholder has the final say in contractor selection.