When disaster strikes, many homeowners work off of pure adrenaline and emotion when filing and dealing with homeowner’s claims. From a leaky pipe to a four-alarm fire, it is important to deal with insurance claims correctly in order to receive a fair settlement. Here are some of the most basic mistakes to avoid when filing an insurance claim.
Don’t Be Vague:
Saying, “My TV is busted” does not give the insurance company adequate information to provide coverage. Your insurer needs to know exactly what has been damaged or stolen. Be detailed; provide a list of all items, including receipts whenever possible. This is where having a home inventory becomes crucial.
Even if you’re not sure it’s worth filing a claim, call your homeowner’s insurance company and explain the situation. Most insurers require you to file a claim within a few months of sustaining loss and if you delay, you may forfeit coverage.
In addition, neglecting to file a claim may result in further damage which may not be covered by insurance if the company claims owner neglect. The sooner you file a claim, the sooner it will be handled, so don't delay.
Do Not Make Permanent Repairs:
If your roof is leaking and water is pouring into your living room, throw a tarp over it, but avoid making permanent repairs until a home insurance claims adjuster inspects your home. Insurance companies will deny home insurance claims if the homeowner makes permanent repairs before the damage is inspected by a claims adjuster.
Any temporary repair expenses should also be submitted to the insurance company for reimbursement, so save any receipts for necessary repair purchases.
Don’t Be A Passive Participant:
When working with the insurance company, be an active participant. Take detailed notes on all contacts with your insurance company and the home insurance claims adjuster.
Be involved with the home inspection, fill out all paperwork in a timely manner and stay in communication with the adjuster. Your chances of getting a satisfactory settlement improve when you are well-prepared and involved in the process.
Don't Agree to a Claim Settlement if You're Dissatisfied:
Just because you’re offered a settlement check doesn’t mean that’s your only option. If you believe your final claim settlement is unfair, you can take additional measure to get independent estimates, or file an appeal with the company
Don’t Use Shady Contractors:
Storm chasers prey on victims of large scale disasters. These con artists ask for advance payment, perform shoddy work and then skip town. Let's say you hire some random plumbing contractor to fix your broken pipes. If they do not do the work properly, you could end up having to hire another contracot and face very high repair costs down the road. So in this instance, it is critical that you hire a reliable contractor who will do the job right the first time.
So overall, use a local contractor with a solid reputation. It is worth it to wait for quality work rather than take what shows up at the front door.