How to Handle Homeowner's Insurance Claims

Review the details of your policy before filing a claim.
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Whether a pipe bursts, lightning strikes your home or you find yourself with another type of damage, filing an insurance claim is one of the first steps to getting it repaired. Before you pick up the phone to call your insurance company, review the details of your policy. An understanding of your policy helps you manage the claims process. Keep track of the claim on your end to make sure it gets resolved satisfactorily.

Step 1

Read your homeowners insurance policy. Make sure that the damage to the home is covered by the policy before making the claim. Check on the deductible amount and any guidelines on how quickly after the damage you need to file the claim.

Step 2

Call contractors to gather a few estimates if the damage is minor. Compare the cost of the repair to your deductible amount. If the difference isn't much, consider paying for the repairs out of pocket to avoid making an insurance claim. Too many insurance claims within a short period can result in cancellation or nonrenewal of the policy.

Step 3

Call your insurance agent or the insurance company's claims number. Call in the claim as soon as possible to make sure there aren't any problems getting the claim paid because of a delay in reporting.

Step 4

Photograph the damage as documentation. You might not need the photos, but at least you will have them for verification, if any disputes arise.

Step 5

Repair any damage that needs immediate attention. This includes anything that might result in more damage to the home or injury to you. For example, if an ice dam on the roof causes water to leak through the roof and into your interior walls, have the ice dam removed by a roofing company to stop the leaking.

Step 6

Keep all receipts for any repairs you make or supplies you purchase before the claim is approved. Photocopy the receipts if you need to turn them into the claims adjuster.

Step 7

Keep a copy of the police report if the insurance claim is for a burglary or similar incident.

Step 8

Document details about the initial incident, any repairs you make and any contact you have with the insurance adjuster. This gives you a record if any problems arise during the claim and can help you remember the details.

Step 9

Work with the claims adjuster to get the homeowners claimed resolved. Try to resolve any disagreements between you and the adjuster or insurance company so all parties are satisfied.

Step 10

Call the state insurance department if you feel the insurance company is not handling the claim appropriately or if you cannot come to an agreement to settle the claim.

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