About 1 in 20 homeowners have a claim each year. Fortunately, most claims are less severe, meaning you probably will not need to rebuild your home. Whether big or small, claims can be stressful. Here are some quick tips to help you navigate the claim process and get home life back to normal.
-Contact the authorities, if needed. Your home insurance policy covers risks like theft and fire. In these cases, contact the authorities first. Often, your insurer can use police or fire reports to help process the claim. But for many types of claims, first responders should be your first call.
-Contact your insurer. Your insurer can help with repairing the damage to your home but often your insurer can help with remediation as well. For example, if your home has roof damage, one important step might be to install a tarp. There is also a part of your policy that refers to policyholder’s responsibilities, with one of those being to contact your insurer promptly.
–Contact your broker. In many cases, your broker will get a report on new claims and reach out to you to offer their support. Be aware that brokers cannot change a coverage determination, but often they can help point you in the right direction if you need help with your claim.
-Take pictures. Most households have a camera phone. Use your smartphone to document the damage. Try to take clear pictures and save the pictures to your favorite cloud storage service. This ensures you can retrieve copies of the photos if needed.
-Be available. Give your claims agent several ways to reach you if possible. Frustrating bottlenecks can delay your claim if your adjuster cannot reach you.
-Save receipts for extra expenses. Many home insurance policies offer coverage for “additional living expenses”. This refers to hotel costs or the extra costs of eating out if a claim forces you to leave your home temporarily. Keeping good records of your additional living expenses can help you speed through the reimbursement process easily.
It is also important to understand the basics of how your policy works before you have a claim. If you have not reviewed your policy lately, just reach out to your broker to schedule a review. Your broker can walk you through your coverages and you can make adjustments to your policy — if needed, and before you have a claim.