Filing A Home Owner's Insurance Claim?
In this article, we go over some key steps to consider when filing a claim with your Home Owner's Insurance company. many claims process can be straight forward with and palatable. unfortunately, for many people, it is not the case. This is why it is so important to make sure you are picking the right insurance provider for your needs along with having the right team to help you manage and get through the process when or if you do ever find yourself having to file a claim to indemnify you of your losses.
The following are some very important steps to take immediately when it has been determined that you will need to file a claim:
1. Assess the situation and document everything you observed and/or experienced. For example, what did you hear? What did you see? What did you feel? What did you smell? What actions did you take once you noticed there was a total loss or any type of significant damage to your home or property?
The reason this step is important because it helps to provide clues as the what the
initial cause may have been? Where the failure may have occurred? Was there anyone home when the loss happened? Were you out of town?
2. Document what time you discovered the claim? Were you out of town? At work? Asleep? The Claims Adjuster wants to assess the extent of the damage as well as if any of the damage could have been prevented or mitigated in any way which to be determined if there was any contributory negligence and how much the claim will pay out when it is all said and done. The sooner you file the claim, the better!
3. Mitigation. Was there any type of mitigation performed, if reasonably possible once the loss was encountered? If you did perform some type of mitigation, what was it? Make sure you carefully detail what you do to attempt to prevent further loss, risk, or hazards from continuing or potentially occurring at that point?
4. Take pictures, videos, recordings, drawings, and/or writing down details to accurately capture the extent of the loss when it initially happened or from the time you discovered the loss. If any other incidents occur as a result of the loss or failed systems, make sure you document and keep a record of everything that transpired afterwards so you can have an accurate record when you go to file the claim or while your waiting for the claims adjuster to come out to inspect your property.
5. Have a contractor come out to your home or property to give you an assessment of the damage and losses incurred so you can provide that information to the insurance company. This helps to helps to ensure the insurance company is not trying to pay out less on the claims the what may be considered fair and reasonable. Also, if necessary, you can get a second quote assessment from another contractor so you can compare them prior to providing that information to the insurance company to make sure you are being quoted fairly and accurately.
6. Be responsive. If you receive a call, email, letter, or any other form of communication from your claims adjuster, be as responsive as possible as to insurance their are no hold -ups or delays in getting your claims paid out and having you restored back to wholeness as soon as possible. Also, by being responsive and getting any additional information to the insurance company quickly, it lets them know you are serious about getting the resolved and finalized.
7. If your insurance company is non-responsive or giving you a hard time and does not wan to pay out, you can, as a next step to resolve the issues, send a letter Certified with Signature Receipt requesting that responds to you within the statues required by law with in your respective state, in California it is 15 days from the time they receive your claim. Once they have received your claim, wait 72 hours for a follow-up response and then follow-up with the claims department if you have not received any type of communications or correspondence from a claims representative. Once you know your claim is being processed, give them up to 5 business days to follow-up with you on the status of your claim before reaching out since insurance companies have claims that are always being processed and it can take time to sort the the extent of the damage and the paperwork provided.
8. If you are having difficulties working with your Home Owner's Insurance and they are not easy to work with or just being very difficult to work with, you can send another letter with the state statues. (See here for California regulations - http://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/105-type/95-guides/03-res/res-ins-guide.cfm) to try and get them to respond you to with a fair and reasonable response on the status or resolution for your claim. If you are working with a Public Adjuster, have them help you get resolution to the situation and write letters on your behalf to get the insurance company to take you seriously and address your claim.
So, the next time you file a claim on your property, make sure you document everything, communicate immediate with your insurance company, and review your policy to make sure the loss in questions is listed as a covered peril or loss. To learn more or if you are in California and need an insurance quote, please email John Savage at firstname.lastname@example.org.