It's your hope that you never have to make a home insurance claim, but you know you could find yourself in this position at some point. That's why you purchase home insurance coverage in the first place.
If the time comes to make a home insurance claim, such as the result of storm damage, you need to take immediate action. The first 90 days are critical, so you need to know exactly what you should and shouldn't be doing.
Before we go any further, there's something important to note: Your home insurance company and agent are not on your side. Even if they're friendly and sympathetic, they are still going to do what's in their best interest.
Here are several home insurance claim tips to keep in mind:
- Read through your policy to ensure that you understand what's covered and what type of coverage you have. This is something to do before you ever file a claim, as the knowledge you collect will put you in a position of power.
- Use your preferred contractor when seeking a repair estimate. You know that your home requires repairs. You also know that you want the right person to be on the job when the time comes.
- Take photos. This may seem like overkill, but it's one of the most important steps you can take. Once you contact your insurance company, take photos of all the damage. It's best to do this before you touch anything, as you want it to be clear as to what went wrong.
- Take part in the adjuster inspection. You should prepare yourself to provide the adjuster with information from your contractor, as well as your personal assessment regarding the damage. You don't want to let this person visit your home without you being on-site, as you never know what he or she will come up with.
- Track everything. It's important to leave a paper trail and to take detailed notes, as this information could work in your favor later in the claims process.
You have a lot going on, so fighting with your home insurance company doesn't sound like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, you need to prepare yourself for this.
Along with the tips above, make sure you have a clear idea of your legal rights and what you can reasonably expect based on the terms and conditions of your policy.