Not all homeowners insurance policies are created equal. When it comes time to file a claim, many [area] homeowners find that their policy covers only certain types of damage. As a homeowner, you should thoroughly read your policy before you need it. Review your declarations page in order to fully understand what your policy covers and what your deductible will be for various types of losses.
When an unfortunate event happens, you’ll likely file a claim with your insurance company. But your life will be even more stressful if you make a mistake filing the claim or aren’t familiar with what your policy covers. Here are some insurance claims do’s and don’ts for [area] homeowners.
Do: Keep Good Records
There’s no such thing as overdocumenting when it comes to claims. Your smartphone can be a handy tool to document each and every detail. It’s also a good idea to get organized and create a separate folder to keep all your documented items together. Document all related expenses, save all receipts related to temporary repairs, alternative living expenses, contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc.
When an incident causing damage happens, you should report it immediately. Most insurance policies don’t put a time limit on how long you have to file a claim. A good rule of thumb is to file within one year of the incident. Some policies even state the homeowner may be held responsible for subsequent damages due to delayed reporting or failure to make reasonable temporary repairs to prevent further damage.
Do: Enlist Professionals
When damage happens, there’s so much to do and take care of. But don’t go at it alone. Claims representatives can help walk you through the process. The insurance adjuster, mitigation contractor, insurance experts, and building inspectors should all be able to get in contact with you.
The claims process can be long and stressful, so you should prepare a list of questions to ask claims professionals. For example: “Does my home insurance cover temporary living expenses?” Or, “When will an adjuster come to my house?”
Don’t: Pay For Incomplete Work
Your insurance company will be paying for some, or all, of the repairs. Yes, the money won’t be coming out of your pocket, but that doesn’t mean the insurance company should pay for a job half-done. Be careful not to pay in full or sign on the dotted line before work is actually done to your home. Make sure there is a plan for the work being done, and get all the details in writing.