Filing a home insurance claim is as easy as notifying your insurance agent in writing and following a few guidelines. On this page we go over the steps you need to file a home insurance claim and get the most out of your residential insurance.
TIP: Your home insurance is a contract. Know the contents of your contract so you can ensure you follow proper procedures and avoid triggering any exemptions.
Steps to Filing a Home Insurance Claim
If any event occurs that is covered by your home insurance including damage, theft, or medical liability you need to take action immediately. Follow these steps to ensure everything is done right.
- Get immediate help. If an accident, theft, or other event that needs immediate police or medical attention occurs you should do that first before worrying about insurance claims. You’ll need the police report to file a claim anyway. Don’t forget to get the report, names of law enforcement, or any other details you may need later.
- Protect against further damage. As a rule of thumb you should take immediate action to mitigate damages. Not taking reasonable action, for example to clean up after a flood, can lead to further damages not covered by your insurance. Make sure to save receipts and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
- Double check your contract. You’ll want to double check your deductible and coverage limits before filing your claim. This will help you understand what your rights are and what to expect from your claim.
- Keep note of all loses. Don’t just not immediate damages, take note of “loss of use” of your home, not being able to work, mold due to flooding, etc, etc. You’ll want to double check what your contract covers, but remember damages can extend past property damage at the event. Of course this works for liability claims against you as well.
- File your claim ASAP (but not before realizing what damages have occurred). There is often a limit placed on the timeframe in which you can file your claim.
- Once your insurer gets your claim they will send you forms to file. These forms will have to be filled out properly and sent back ASAP as they can have time limits on them.
- After all of that is done you will most likely have an insurance adjustor contact you and/or come to your home to verify your claim and inspect your home. The insurance adjustor is a third party whose report can be used to help or hurt your claim. Remember they can be your friend and often they don’t work directly for the insurer. Do however be aware not to incriminate yourself.
- Once everything else has been done it’s time to settle with your insurer. Your insurer may try to get you to settle before you are ready, but don’t settle until you feel confident. Like with car insurance settling before you know the true damage caused can land you with unexpected future costs!
Once the claim is settled, that is it. The case is closed and can’t be reopened again.
If you have any further questions we suggest calling your insurance agent and/or your state department of insurance.