What Happens After You File a Claim

Posted October 6th, 2010
by HomeownersInsurance.org Staff (no comments)

You may be apprehensive to file a claim on your homeowners insurance policy, and rightly so. Filing a claim can increase your monthly premiums, and your property may be added to a database used by insurance companies to track homes with a history of claims. This could make it harder to sell your home or renew your policy in the future, depending on the size and nature of previous claims.

If you do file a claim, however, you’ll need to know what to expect. In the insurance world, there are simple claims and not-so-simple claims.

  • For simple claims such as storm damage, window breakage, and some types of theft, your insurance claims adjuster will contact you by phone. You will probably need to get an estimate of the damage, which could entail hiring a contractor or providing appraisal documents for jewelry. The company will then mail you a check, often without coming out to the house to inspect the damage in person.
  • For more complicated claims, such as vandalism, water damage, and fire, the insurance adjuster will more than likely schedule a time to come out and review the damage themselves. They will take photos to support your claim, and help you fill out the necessary paperwork.
  • Some insurers require you to use only approved contractors for appraisals and estimates. While you will have your choice of vendors, they must carry certain certifications that help to ensure their work is quality and they aren’t shady dealers.
  • The process can take several weeks to many months, depending on the type of claim and the amount of damage. Water damage, for instance, can cause mold that poses a health risk to humans. This may require more lengthy inspections and extensive repairs, and can make it difficult to live in your home while work is being completed.
  • Whatever you do, don’t sit back and wait for your claim to be taken care of. Stay in touch with your claims adjuster, contractors, and repair specialists to make sure they aren’t waiting on more information from you or others. Facilitate the handling of paperwork to keep things moving along.

Filing a claim on your homeowner’s insurance policy can be a hassle. Before you file, be sure the financial rewards of doing so outweigh the costs.

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