Suffering property damage from a winter storm can take a heavy financial and emotional toll on homeowners. The following tips should be of assistance in filing a homeowners insurance claim:
- Notify your homeowners insurance company or agent of your loss immediately. This helps the company start the process necessary to handle your claim. In some cases, smaller claims are handled and settled directly by your insurance agent. When speaking to your insurance agent, get the name and contact information for the individual in the adjusting department who will be helping you with your claim.
- If emergency repairs are necessary, ask your insurance company for a list of approved companies authorized to make emergency repairs to your property. In some cases, the company doing the repairs can bill the homeowners insurance company directly. Be sure to get the necessary paperwork from the insurance company for this type of repair.
- Methodically document the damage to your property. This means taking photos and videos, and even writing down what happened so you can present this information to the insurance adjuster. If at all possible, have any items that can demonstrate the value of the damaged property available, such as receipts. It is also helpful to have witness accounts, police reports and reports from the fire department, if applicable.
- Document all contact you have with the insurance company in as much detail as possible. Get names and contact information from everyone you speak to about your claim. Any documentation of conversations with your home insurance company may come in handy if there is a dispute later.
- When the home insurance adjuster is inspecting your property, make sure you are present. This will enable you to point out damage the adjuster may have missed and take notes regarding the adjuster’s comments and actions.
Homeowners should also keep all receipts associated with repairs, and they should hang on to any damaged personal property until after the insurance settlement goes through. Claims should also be submitted in writing and as soon as possible after the damage occurs.
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