Owning a house can entail coping with the unexpected, which might range from a tree falling on your roof to a pipe bursting in your bathroom. Because you can't always avoid unpleasant surprises, understanding what to expect if you have a homeowner's claim can provide some relief.
While insurance companies handle claims in a variety of ways, the following are some fundamental elements in the process.
If Your Home Has Been Damaged:
Obtain permission to re-enter your home. Even if the damage is limited to one room, do not return to your home until emergency personnel or local government officials have cleared you to do so.
Prepare your information. When you register a claim, you will often be requested to provide your name, contact information, policy information, the type and date of loss, and a description of the loss and any injuries. If you have a home inventory, you should keep it handy. Your claim will often be issued a claim number as well as a claim professional, sometimes known as an adjuster, who will work with you to adjust your claim.
Take efforts to prevent further damage, such as purchasing tarps to cover roof holes. Remember to keep your receipts.
Starting the Claim Process:
Submit your claim. As quickly as possible, contact your insurance carrier. The sooner you disclose it, the sooner your insurance company may be able to assist you.
Examining the damage. The claim professional will normally contact you to discuss what happened, what your insurance policy may or may not cover, and to arrange for an in-person inspection of the damage.
Keep track of your losses. Using photographs or videos might help you remember things you may have forgotten about. Look for images of the damaged regions if you don't have an inventory. Make a note of everything that has been damaged in your home.
Keep your receipts. Keep all receipts when making any necessary interim repairs or living arrangements, preserving property from additional damage, or establishing temporary housing arrangements. Your insurer may request them as part of the claim procedure.
Relocating After a Loss:
Loss of Use. If you are unable to stay in your home following a covered loss, your homeowners insurance may reimburse you for additional living expenses such as motels, car rentals, and other day-to-day routine expenses incurred as a result of having to temporarily relocate.
Temporary dwelling. If you require temporary living accommodations while your home is being restored following a covered loss, your carrier may send you to a service provider or grant you permission to remain at a hotel or rental property.
Resolving a Claim:
Timetables vary. Because each loss and insurer is unique, the time it takes to handle a claim varies. The claim professional's evaluation of the damage and specifics of the loss can assist establish how long it will take to settle a claim.
Receiving payment. Once the claim professional determines that your insurance covers the loss, you can normally expect to get a check based on an estimate of the damage, either on the spot or shortly thereafter.