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How to File a Homeowners Insurance Claim

Although the likelihood of filing a claim against your homeowners insurance policy is relatively low, if and when a loss occurs, you will want to be prepared.


A house fire is typically the most common claim people think of when it comes to homeowners’ insurance. However, most homeowners’ insurance policies will cover many different types of losses including theft of personal property, wind and hail damage, and even liability claims for bodily injury of others that occurs on your property.


Filing a homeowners’ claim may feel intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be if you follow these eight steps:


  • File a police report (if necessary) – If you experience any sort of crime including burglary, theft, or vandalism, your first step is to contact your local police and have a report filed.
  • Contact your insurance company – Explain the situation in as much detail as possible. Ask if they believe your claim will be covered, how long you have to file, and if the expected loss will be over the deductible (if not, you may decide not to file a claim).
  • Make a list of damages / loss – Examine any damage or theft and begin making a list of all the damage or missing items. Be as thorough as you can and include everything that has been damaged, lost, or stolen. This list will serve as the basis for your claim.
  • Take photographs – If you have suffered property damage, take photographs of the damaged property. If items have been lost or are unrecognizable, check your files for any photographs you may have taken before the loss (taking a photographic or video record of your home and belongings is a top risk management practice).
  • Complete claim forms – After speaking with your insurance company, they will send you a proof-of-loss form, among others. Take your time and complete the forms in their entirety. This means including anything and everything that may have been lost or damaged (every pair of socks, every spoon, etc.)
  • Make emergency repairs – Take any effort necessary to secure your property from further damage. Before doing so, however, make sure you have photographs before the repairs are made so you can be reimbursed later (see tip 4 above). Your insurance policy may require you to protect your property when it is reasonable to do so.
  • Meet the adjuster – After the claim has been submitted and documents filed, it is likely your insurance company will send a claims adjuster out to examine your loss. It is their job to evaluate your claim, determine if coverage is afforded, and eventually issue a claim payment if due.
  • Stay diligent – Like most of us, claims adjusters are busy – and human. Politely follow up in regular intervals if you haven’t received a prompt response. This may be more important when your claim may be one of many resulting from a widespread event.

Insurance companies provide the promise of helping individuals and families get back on their feet after a loss of home or property. But it does take both parties, you and the insurance company, working together to make sure you receive all that is owed. To make sure your home and assets are properly covered, contact my office today for a free review.