How Do I Go About Filing My Claim?
Any peril which is covered under an insurance policy that occurs in your home, has to be paid out by your insurer; but the first step is the claim filing process. The first step to take is to notify your agent in writing, at the first possible moment. A policy is a contract which is binding between you and your insurer; this means there are rules in place you have to follow, but also rules they have to follow if an accident does take place. It is also important to read and fully understand the policy, to ensure you know what is and isn’t covered.
So, here’s what happens when filing your claim:
1. Report theft, burglary, or other forms of thievery which occurs in your home to the police. Make sure a full police report is filed and you have a written copy; also make sure you take down all law enforcement names and police you speak to, in order to have everything properly filed and documented.
2. A time limit is in place for filing your claim, each insurer’s time limit varies. Ask the right questions and find out how long you have to file that claim. Find out: If you are covered, whether or not you have a deductible, how to get estimates for damage, and how long the claims process typically takes. All information is pertinent when filing your claim, and is the only way to ensure things will move along as they should.
3. Reasonably take all steps and precautions you can take to prevent further damage from ensuing. If you spend any money in doing so, save all receipts and submit these along with your claim, to the insurance agent who is going to file it on your behalf.
4. You also have to substantiate your losses during this time. This means keeping damaged items in the home until an adjuster visits and determines their value. It is also a good idea to take photos and videos of the damage, so you can document what has occurred in the home. A home inventory list of belongings (before and after the claim) should be taken and submitted when you are speaking with adjusters and of course your insurance agent. This is to make sure everything will be replaced, and you won’t have to pay money where you shouldn’t be paying for items which are covered by your policy.
5. In some cases, where extreme damage occurs, you might have to leave your home. If you have to stay with family or in a hotel, keep track of all costs you incur. From cost of the room, to food and dining out if you can’t eat from the comfort of your home. If you have “loss of use of your home,” most insurers do reimburse you for those costs (at least to a certain extent) but only if you have maintained all logs and keep receipts, which are dated, for the monies you spent while you are out of your home.
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Keep in mind if a mandatory evacuation from the home is required, most policies and insurers do not provide reimbursement for those costs. So again, familiarize yourself with the policy terms, and make sure you know what is covered, and which costs you are not going to be reimbursed for after an accident and a policy claim have been filed with your insurance provider.
6. After notice of the claim, your insurer is required to send you all claim forms within a certain window or period of time. Every state has different regulations in place, so the time frame can vary from one filed claim to the next. In order to avoid delays in processing, it is important to file the claim and fill out all paperwork as soon as you get it. Also make sure things are legible, you include all addendum, and that you make it as easy as possible for the claim adjuster to find the information they need, so they do not continually call you or try to delay the process when you need the claim to be filed in a short turn around period of time.
7. At this point your insurer will probably call an adjuster who will come to the home to do an inspection; and they will determine if it is in line with what you have reported and filed in your original claim. As they compile information, make sure you comply with requests and that you are as cooperative as possible, as this will speed the process along, and is the only way to ensure all of the costs are reimbursed when damage has to be repaired. Although the adjuster can’t approve your claim, the insurer will use the information they provide in determining what will be paid for. So you want to make sure the adjuster’s notes are as detailed as possible, meaning you have to answer questions, provide all information they require, and you have to be honest during the process, in order to ensure your claim goes through as quickly as possible, and is approved by the insurer as quickly as possible as well.
State laws are in place to make sure you receive your payment quickly after you and your insurance provider come to terms and to an agreement. If you are settling on the claim, the insurer is going to present an offer, and you have the right to counter or discuss in further details, the actual costs. Once all terms have been agreed upon, every state has regulations and laws in place, which require your insurance company to cut you a check within a certain period of time.
More often than not these claims are filed quickly with most insurance companies. The state department can answer certain questions about the claim process. If you have any questions about filing the claim or when you will receive your check, this is best to discuss with an insurance agent to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible, and you receive payment as quickly as possible when a settlement has been agreed upon.
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