Filing a homeowners insurance claim is never a pleasant process. While you may hope you’ll never need to call upon the coverage of your homeowners insurance policy, in the event that you do it is important to properly file your claim. Attention to detail can be a challenge when you’re dealing with the aftermath of an emergency, but every step you take ensures that you get the most out of the home insurance coverage you’ve paid for.
Here’s what you need to know when filing a homeowners insurance claim:
- Inform the police. If theft, vandalism or burglary is involved, report it to the police immediately. From there, get a copy of their official report and keep records of all law enforcement officers you speak with.
- Make a list of all lost or damaged items. You’ll need this info when you speak with your homeowners insurance company, and if you have a written and/or photographed inventory of your home’s contents to reference, all the better. Also, resist the temptation to remove any damaged belongings from the scene, as the homeowners insurance claims adjuster will need all items present for review and assessment.
- Phone your homeowners insurance company. As soon as possible, call your insurance company and open your claim. The representative will walk you through related coverage details and initiate scheduling for an adjuster inspection, fire or water damage cleanup service or restoration contractor.
- Take photos or video of the damaged portion of the property. Keep any pictures or tapes with the rest of your homeowners insurance claim records, including a duplicate set in case you need to provide it to investigating authorities.
- Make temporary repairs. Within reason and as advised by your insurance agent, make temporary repairs to prevent further damage to your property. Keep related receipts on file for later reimbursement by the insurer.
- If you have to relocate, keep your receipts. Repair and restoration after severe property damage may require alternative accommodations for you and your family. So be sure to keep records of all additional expenses you incur, as “loss of use” is among the coverages in most homeowners insurance policies, and should be included when filing your homeowners insurance claim.