You just sustained a loss to your home and decided to file an insurance claim. Well, you are probably looking for ways to make sure the claim starts off going in the right direction. Here are eight great insurance claim tips to help you have a smooth claim experience!
Before we get started, let’s talk about the most crucial task you should perform. Pull out your insurance policy (please tell me you kept a copy). Look towards the end of your policy for the section on conditions, specifically duties after loss. This section will provide critical information that you must follow.
If you need help locating this information, call and ask your agent for a copy. The insurance company can also provide it to you. They will be happy to know you are complying with your insurance policy!
Disclaimer: The following is general advice based on my experience and opinions. You should read my full disclosure here.
Here are 8 great insurance claim tips to help you:
1. Do not delay notification of your claim.
Most, if not all, insurance policies require prompt notice of a claim. By providing timely notification of your claim, it allows the insurance company an opportunity to investigate a loss while it’s still new and fresh.
2. You must mitigate your loss.
- Immediately following a loss, you should do whatever in your power to prevent further damage from occurring. So, let’s say in the event of a water loss, you should attempt to dry out your home to prevent mold growth.
- Making temporary repairs is like mitigating your loss. If a tree limb fell, causing a hole in your roof, you would need to remove that tree limb then place a tarp over the roof to prevent water from entering your home. These expenses are typically allowed by the insurance company. You must sustain damage from a covered peril for coverage.
3. You need to verify your mortgage.
- Make sure to have the correct name of your mortgage company, so you are ready to let the adjuster know during that initial phone call.
- If the adjuster doesn’t ask you for the mortgage information, volunteer it. The insurance company may include the mortgage company on any settlement checks.
- I like to tell my insureds to call their mortgage company shortly after a loss and find out what you will need to do once (or if) you get a check in the mail from the insurance company. It’ll save time when you get the check.
4. Try not to leave your contractor out of the inspection.
- This really is just my insider insurance claim tip. I really think it helps in the long run of your claim.
- If you know the contractor, you plan on using, then have them there at the inspection.
- It’ll help both the contractor and adjuster come to an agreement on site for repairs.
- Having both parties present during the inspection will save you time later. For instance, if the contractor happens to discover some items the adjuster left out, they will need to either perform a second inspection or discuss it in detail. I like to get everything on the table at the inspection.
- Ask the contractor to have an estimate completed prior to the adjuster comes, if time allows.
5. Provide excellent documentation of your claim.
- I can’t express to you enough how important it is to keep documentation!
- You should keep every single relatable expense, receipts, or invoice that you encounter during the life of your claim.
- Your insurance company could very well deny your request for reimbursement without you having proper documentation.
- Having the right documentation clears up any confusion and avoids delays during your claim.
- Poor documentation, either not enough, or just sloppy record-keeping, will delay your claim. It also upsets the adjuster to have to try and piece together your information. Trust me on this!
- Under no circumstances should you discard anything that you are going to claim. The only exception to this is food. If you take a photograph of the food and write down the food item and cost, you should be fine throwing it out. You could always call your adjuster and ask before doing so.
- Ask yourself this: How can the adjuster reimburse you for something that they don’t even know existed?
- If you think you can take photos of your damaged items and then throw them away, you are wrong!
6. Be prepared and flexible with the insurance adjuster.
This great insurance claim tip is for all the adjuster out there. 🙂
- Unfortunately, adjusters tend to be overworked with claims and typically have a full schedule. IF the adjuster tells you they can see you Tuesday at 10:00 AM; agree and be there.
- If you file an insurance claim, be ready for the phone call from the adjuster. Have your information available to be relayed and answer as many questions as you can.
- Here’s some information to have handy for the adjuster:
- the mortgage company
- date of loss
- cause of loss (if known)
- any prior losses that have occurred at your home
- the risk location (the address where the damage occurred)
- involved parties including contractors, or the restoration company
- police or fire report number
- age of your home
- square footage of your home
- any recent major renovations
- Prepare for the inspection by documenting all your damage so you can show the adjuster your concerns during the investigation. They typically will do a full investigation, but not all adjusters are the same (like me 😊) Download the Property Claim Packet to prepare for the adjuster.
- Before the adjuster leaves the inspection, ask them what the next step in the claims process will be and what you should expect.
- Make sure the insurance adjuster did not leave anything out of the estimate. You do not want to get repairs started and then realized something was left off. It does not make them a terrible adjuster; it just means they make mistakes.
Be proactive for your claim, and always review everything you receive from the insurance company.
7. Notify your local authorities.
- If you have a theft loss, you need to call the police and file a report. Have the report number ready for the adjuster.
- The same goes for a fire loss. You should report it to the authorities, and they should be able to come to check out your home to ensure there is no more risk, even for a small fire. You can tell them you want to make sure there is no possibility of the fire reigniting.
8. Request advanced funds.
- This is just really a great insurance claim tip that most people don’t do!
- If you just sustained a substantial loss that will force you out of your house, you need to speak up and ask for a money advance. * Please note that you must have coverage for this to receive a check*
- The insurance company may even set you up in a hotel under their credit card.
- Just because the insurance company sends you an advance check, doesn’t mean the claim is complete. *For first-party claims only*
These are just 8 great insurance claim tips to help you with your next claim. Just remember to read your duties after loss section as we discussed and you will be fine. If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out!
The Curious Confidential: What do you think of the 8 great insurance claim tips? Have you been able to use these on your claim? Comment below!