Home Insurance Claims Go Better When You Do These Things

Home Insurance Claims

Homeowners buy insurance to protect the place where their family lives, which is also a major long-term financial asset. They want peace of mind, to know that even if a natural disaster were to strike down their home, they would be covered through their policy and could recover from the loss.

It’s easy to make the mistake of assuming that your home insurance covers more than it does. Insurance companies often try to wriggle out of paying as much as possible, hoping they can justify it because the claimant fails to follow the process correctly after a disaster strikes their home, or they do not understand their entitlements under the complicated terms of the policy.

Here’s what you should do to maximize your settlement.

1. Contact the Insurance Company Quickly

It’s natural to have a strong emotional reaction after a natural disaster harms your home. Once you initially talk yourself down and process your emotions, you need to contact the insurance company ASAP.

Any delay can impact your claim, potentially lowering the settlement and putting it at risk. Call them, but make sure your communication is in writing, too.

2. Documentation Matters

The stronger your proof of any damage and losses resulting from the fire or flood, the more likely you are to receive fair compensation. So long as the natural disaster hasn’t rendered the premises safe to enter, take photos and videos of the structural damage and any belongings that got damaged or destroyed. You may also want to include photos of what your home looked like before to establish the extent of the destruction.

If your belongings were destroyed in a fire or flood, there may not be much physical evidence of their existence. Provide a list of what was destroyed, including furniture, electronics, art, and anything else. If possible, provide receipts. If you didn’t keep the paper receipt, look for an electronic payment record. Photos of the items to show proof of ownership will help as well.

It’s very important not to misrepresent the damages! It’s a type of fraud that could undermine and invalidate your entire insurance claim. Hiring an insurance lawyer for property damage makes sense at this point in the process, as they can help with the paperwork and use their expertise and experience to secure you a larger settlement while also making sure that your claim is not inflated and denied by the insurance company. This may be the first time you are going through the insurance claim process, but an insurance lawyer works on claims every day. Their experience can help you substantially.

3. Show the Insurance Adjuster Everything

When the insurance adjuster inspects the premises, ensure they don’t miss anything. You aren’t likely to get fully compensated if there’s damage to the home they don’t see. If it is not seen on the first inspection, they may argue that it is new damage not associated with the loss. If this issue comes up, an insurance lawyer can help advance arguments to the insurance company to ensure that all loss-related damage is covered in the claim.

Be mindful to show them the damage to the roof and exterior walls, interior walls and framing, the wiring, plumbing, heating, and any discolouration or warping.

Be thorough and patient, and you’ll get rewarded later.

4. The Insurer’s Offer Isn’t Final

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you must accept the first number the insurance company presents to you. Their offer is based on the insurance adjuster’s assessment, and there’s room to negotiate or alter the terms based on an accurate assessment of the damage.

Maybe they left out a few items, and they’ll make the correction after you inform them. If there’s a big discrepancy between what they’re offering and what you think it’ll cost, you may want to hire an insurance lawyer to intervene.

Img Credit: Mike Bird via Pexels

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