Before ending up in a situation in which your home is damaged or your property is stolen, it’s a good idea to know how to file a homeowner insurance or renters insurance claim. That way, you’ll be able to start the process quickly and remedy the situation as soon as possible.
Here are the six simple steps to file a property insurance claim:
1. Call the police or fire department if necessary.
For fire, theft, vandalism or a traumatic accident, notify the police or fire department immediately. Supply as many details about the incident as you can, and make sure to include all police and fire reports in your property insurance claim. Keep in mind that most minor incidents don’t require a call to the local authorities.
2. Contact your insurance company.
In most cases, your insurance company will require you to contact them within a certain period after an incident. Once you receive the police or fire report, contact your insurance agent or their claims hotline. Have all pertinent details and your insurance policy number on hand to expedite the process.
3. Complete a claims form.
Work with your insurance agent to complete the necessary homeowners or renters insurance claims form. (These forms are often available online.) Be as thorough as possible in the details you offer. For smaller claims, a simple claims form should suffice. However, if losses are more substantial, your agent will likely send an insurance adjuster to inspect the damage firsthand.
4. Document all damages.
In order to be reimbursed for your losses, you must prove what was lost or damaged. You can do this by taking photos or video of the damage before cleaning up or making repairs. Include thephotographs or video with your claims form.
Ideally, you should document your home and belongings before any loss or damage occurs so you can show your insurance company the “before” pictures as compared to the “after” shots. Your agent can help you create a home inventory, or you can download special software online.
5. Save all receipts.
Whether you have to make temporary repairs before your claim is complete, or must relocate temporarily due to safety concerns, it is important to save all receipts. Check your policy for specific guidelines, but in most cases, your insurance will most likely help cover costs related to repairs and relocation.
Don’t start permanent or major repairs and renovations until you receive confirmation of compensation. At that time, ask your agent about the best way to submit appropriate receipts with a property insurance claim.
6. Communicate with your insurance company.
The best way to expedite your property insurance claim is to maintain open lines of communication. After you file a claim, always make yourself available to speak to your agent or claims adjuster – your cooperation could help to speed up the payment process.
Dealing with loss, damage, vandalism or theft can be difficult. However, insurance companies can help resolve such situations in a smooth, efficient manner so you can get back to everyday life as quickly as possible.
Get peace of mind by having the property insurance coverage you need!