A storm, theft, or a fire could leave your property damaged or someone injured. These are all unfortunate situations you may find yourself dealing with. If you are in such a position, you should rely on your homeowners’ insurance to help deal with the damage and financial repercussions.
Are you looking to file a property insurance claim? Most insurance companies have simplified the process for property owners. You can now file your claim through the company’s website or by simply making a call.
However, before picking up the phone, there is a proper procedure to filing the insurance claim to avoid rejection. You will also need additional documents and professional help to ensure that your case is handled fairly. Follow the below procedures when filing a home insurance claim:
1. Report to the Police in Case of a Crime
Property damage constitutes theft, burglary, and vandalism. If you are a victim of any crime, ensure you first call the police and file a report. Share all the information you have about the crime with the authorities to make work easier for them.
Share any CCTV videos you have, the criminals’ physical descriptions, and give a detailed account of what you witnessed. Ensure you get a copy of the police report and the names or badge numbers of any officers on the scene. You may need this information when talking to the insurance company or your attorney later.
2. Notify Your Insurance Company
Did you know that one out of every 20 insured homes files an insurance claim every year? The majority of these claims constitute property damage.
If there is any damage to your property, ensure to inform your insurance provider immediately and file an insurance claim. If you fail to file your insurance claim within the contract’s stipulated time, it could result in denial. Even if the property damage is too extensive and warrants a relocation, remember to notify your insurance provider immediately.
You can file your claim online or through a call, depending on your insurance company. After notifying the company, they will start processing your claim. This is a long, thorough process that may need enough preparation time and great attention to detail on your side.
The whole process entails the initial communication with the insurance provider, a thorough evaluation of the claim, negotiations, and then agreeing on a settlement. For the initial process, you will require the following information:
- Your Full name and physical address
- Your contact information
- Insurance policy number
- The type of property damage you’re claiming for; flood, wind, theft, or fire
- A clear description of the damage caused to your personal property
Filing a property damage claim is not an easy process. However, familiarizing yourself with the process makes everything easier when you need to file one.
3. Secure the Premises
After an accident or a disaster, ensure you take the necessary steps to secure the property and avoid the possibility of someone being injured. As an insurance policyholder, you have the responsibility to prevent any secondary damage or injury on your property.
Your insurance company will ask about the measures you took to avoid further property damage after the incident. Ensure you document all the actions to satisfy this need. If you didn’t take the necessary measures to prevent additional damage or injuries, you could suffer a decreased settlement or denial.
Indicate if you took any of the below measures after a disaster:
- Control people’s access to the damaged property
- Attempted to secure or save irreplaceable property such as manuscripts and first edition books
- Relocate some personal property to a different temporary location to prevent additional damage or theft
- Demolish any risky parts of the property to avoid further damage or injuries if need be
- Any steps you took to mitigate the impact of water damage to your property
If you fail to take reasonable and practical steps to mitigate damage, the insurance company could refuse to cover the additional damage. Ensure you cover all your bases immediately after the incident.
4. Hire a Home Insurance Attorney
After filing your property damage claim, the insurance provider will send an adjuster to investigate your case and oversee your claim. Most property owners make the mistake of thinking that this adjuster has their best interest at heart. Unfortunately, the adjuster is only there to look out for the best interest of the insurance company.
When filing an insurance claim, you have the right to hire your home insurance lawyer to assist with the process. Navigating property owners’ damage claims can be quite tricky. That’s because property insurance laws and jargon can be quite challenging to internalize if you are not a professional in the field.
Hiring a property insurance lawyer is your best line of defense. Your attorney will be looking out for your best interest and ensure that your claim is not denied unfairly. They have the experience and knowledge to navigate the system and get you the best settlement possible with your insurance company.
5. Share Copies of Receipts and Evidence You Have
If you took any pictures and videos after a property damage or theft incident, share them with the insurance adjuster and your home insurance lawyer. You should also share copies of any receipts of the damaged items to help expedite the settlement process.
Remember also to keep the receipts of relocation. Sometimes your property might be too damaged for you and your family to stay. In such cases, you may be forced to find another accommodation while your house is being repaired.
Keep receipts of all these additional living expenses to provide proof. Most homeowners’ insurance policies also cover other costs resulting from property damage.
Are You Ready to File Your Property Insurance Claim?
Filing a property insurance claim is not an easy process. It requires patience, organization, and thorough preparation. You need to have all the necessary documents, receipts, and proof with you before meeting an insurance adjuster. Remember also to hire a home insurance attorney to assist with the process.
After you and the insurance provider agree on a fair settlement, depending on your policy, it’s required by law that the payment be sent to you as soon as possible. For more articles like this, check out other posts on our website.