When you are confronted with a disaster that has caused considerable damage to your property, it understandably feels overwhelming. At that point in time, you just want to get your life back on track and have things get back to normal, so your first instinct is to begin the repair process immediately.
But if your house is insured, you may want to hold off on all repairs if you haven’t begun the property damage insurance claims process. Filing a claim is crucial to see to it that you don’t have to cover all the expenses of having your home repaired or rebuilt.
In this blog, we will discuss what happens when you make a home insurance claim and what you can expect during property and casualty insurance claims processing. Here’s everything you need to know about the property damage insurance claims process.
How Does a Homeowners Insurance Claim Work?
You might be wondering: “how does a homeowners insurance claim work?” Property and casualty insurance claims processing entails a few steps that you have to follow, beginning with filing a claim before you can start claiming compensation for damage to your home. The form of payment and the extent of coverage you receive will differ according to your policy. Depending on your policy, you may be entitled to:
- The actual value of the damaged property minus the cost of depreciation.
- The total cost for the replacement of damaged property without subtracting depreciation.
- The guaranteed replacement of the damaged property, regardless of current value.
Before filing a claim, check whether your homeowner’s insurance covers the type of damage dealt to your property. In most cases, a basic homeowner’s policy won’t cover natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, or other “acts of God.” These events will require special riders or a separate policy for coverage.
After verifying the amount of coverage you’re getting, you can then begin the claims process by reporting the damage to your insurance company. Next, you should take pictures of the damage while exercising caution not to touch anything for documentation. These pictures will be required later on.
What Happens When You Make a Home Insurance Claim?
Filing a home insurance claim is the first step that you take to begin the process of getting your life back to normal. So, now that you’ve filed the necessary paperwork, what next?
After the insurance company is notified about a claim, they will send an insurance claims adjuster to inspect the damage on your property. If you’ve seen reports online about an “insurance company taking pictures of my house,” then it is highly likely that it was an insurance claims adjuster taking the pictures.
While looking at the damage, they will also be taking pictures. But aside from their own photos, they will also ask you for photo or video evidence of the damage, mainly for comparison. Once the claim is verified, they will then determine the amount that the insurance company will cover.
Again, depending on your policy, the adjuster may issue a check for the full replacement or settlement or an advance on the amount you need. Separate checks will be issued for each type of loss: one for your damage to the home itself, one for personal property, and a separate check for flooding or earthquake damage should you have a rider or separate policy in place.
In some cases, the compensation check may be issued to your lender if your home is mortgaged. When that happens, contact your lender immediately to know how repairs will be handled. Payment can also be made directly to your contractor. They will provide you with a form you can sign for all repairs they’ve made, which will then be sent to your insurance company.
What to Do During Property and Casualty Insurance Claims Processing
Report the damage to your homeowner’s insurance company immediately.
As mentioned previously, your first step should be to contact your insurance company immediately to report the damage to your property. It is a standard clause in any insurance policy contract, resulting in a denial of your claim if you fail to do so within the stated time limit.
Once you’ve notified the insurance company of your claim, the claim processing will begin. During this process, the insurance company will require a few documents as well as documented proof of your claim before they can issue compensation.
Aside from your name and address, they will also ask for your policy number, the type of claim, and a description of the damage to your home and personal property, so be sure to have this information on hand.
Secure your property and the surrounding area.
Securing your home and preventing additional damage and injury is also a standard in most insurance policies to prevent the insurance company from issuing further compensation. That is why it is vital to set up mitigating measures to prevent additional damage post-disaster. However, before you do, make sure to document all the damage on your property for evidence.
After securing the needed evidence, perform emergency measures such as placing a tarp over your roof or boarding up holes to prevent more water from entering. You may also need to set up a perimeter around your property to prevent people other than emergency personnel from entering.
Consider seeking professional help for the claims process.
It is a common mistake among policyholders to assume that insurance adjusters only want what’s best for you. On the contrary, insurance adjusters will only look out for the insurance company’s best interests, and they will most likely try to persuade you to take less money. For this reason, it may be necessary and within your legal right to hire outside professionals like a public adjuster to help with the claims process. With industry knowledge and extensive experience, they can help make the intricate process of insurance claims more seamless.
Look for a rentable living space during the waiting period.
If your insurance adjuster considers the damage on your property to be substantial and determines it to be unlivable, then you will need to look for a living space that you can call home while repairs are underway. Consider luxury rental spaces for a more comfortable waiting period. Your insurance company will cover all living expenses, so it won’t be an additional expense for you during this challenging time. Take a look at the rental spaces available by visiting this link.