You may have heard receiving good coverage after filing a homeowner’s claim is difficult. Here's how to prepare for a successful experience.
You’ve heard the horror stories before: a burst pipe floods the basement, a faulty valve leaks gas and catches fire, a tree falls and caves in the roof. There are multiple scenarios where homeowners need to file claims with their insurance companies. Receiving full coverage can be tricky, especially if you’ve filed multiple claims in recent years.
Maybe you’ve experienced damage to your home recently and are looking for advice on filing a homeowner’s claim. For many people, it’s a decision that comes with strings attached. But it doesn’t have to be so black and white. At Pekin Insurance, we believe that transparency is the best policy. We want to help homeowners get back on their feet again.
In this post, we’ve outlined the variables to weigh for filing a homeowner’s claim and the ways to go about making the strongest case for receiving due coverage. Keep reading for our exclusive guide on how to utilize homeowner’s insurance when you need it most.
Filing a homeowner's claim the right way: a guide for success
Know the details of your insurance policy up and down
Before you begin the process of filing a homeowner’s claim, make sure you know what your insurance policy covers and does not cover. You should have full knowledge of all declarations, riders, limits, and exclusions included in your policy. If you have questions about certain exclusions and are wondering if your situation fits those descriptions, call your insurance provider and speak with an agent directly.
If you’re only calling to gather information about your policy, an insurance company won't have any grounds to log your interest in filing a claim, yet. Keep your questions general and informative until you decide to call back and begin the claim process.
Weigh all the variables and consider the outcomes
There are a host of considerations to weigh before making the final decision on whether or not to file a claim. If you’ve had a history of homeowner’s claims in recent years, filing another one could put you at risk for being “non-renewed” for your insurance policy. Being in that position can make it extremely difficult to find another insurance carrier to work with you.
Consider the following questions: what are the estimated repair costs for the damage and what is your deductible? If the damage is not out of your budget to repair, it may be wise to pay those expenses out of pocket, especially if this is not your first homeowner’s claim.
Your best weapon is to keep clear records of everything
Similar to documenting all the details at the scene of a car accident, you want to have a clear record of your version. Make sure to file a police report if appropriate, take pictures of all the damage and contextual clues to the cause of the event, and track all expenses as a result of the damage. To be clear, that means tracking every expense: medical, house care, and if you’re forced to live outside your home temporarily, any living expenses. Keep your receipts documented and ready to present.
If it’s clear right away that filing a homeowner’s claim is the best decision, call your insurance provider as soon as possible. Record information on the agents you speak with, the date and time of the conversation, and the topics covered.
Create a comprehensive home inventory list before disaster strikes
If there ever comes a time when your home is destroyed by a natural disaster, fire, or even a sinkhole, you want to have a documented list of everything you own, and that means everything. Filing a homeowner’s claim will not get you far if you cannot present a document of the valuables you’ve lost in the accident. Take the time to create an inventory of every item you own, from toothbrush to TV. Take pictures and store your documents in a safe place outside your home.
Filing a homeowner’s claim doesn't need to be a hassle
There are quite a few considerations when deciding whether or not to file a home insurance claim, but if you do decide to file, the steps outlined above can help you achieve the right outcome. Simply put, the key to success is understanding the likely consequences and doing everything in your power to leverage negotiation in your favor.
Even the most prepared homeowners face unforeseen costs when it comes to disasters, emergencies, and repairs. Upgrade your homeowner's policy to include a variety of extras, including the cost to replace home equipment for just pennies a day.