Every homeowner has to have homeowners insurance. This insurance payment is likely combined with your mortgage. Homeowners insurance is extremely important. It protects you and your home from damage, accidents, and loss. Whether your friend was hurt on your property, a tornado removes your roof, or a flood washes into your basement, you can file a homeowner’s insurance claim.
But, knowing when to file a homeowners insurance claim can be challenging. You don’t want to pay for all small and medium problems yourself, but you also don’t want to claim for every little thing that goes wrong.
What Is Homeowners Insurance?
Homeowners insurance is comparable to renters insurance, it just costs a bit more. If you have a major disaster in your home, your homeowners insurance should cover the loss.
However it’s important to note that if you own a condo you may need a different type of coverage than those who own single-family homes. We asked Northern Virginia Pro, the realtors specialising in Bryson at Woodland Park condos why: “The condominium association typically has its own insurance which covers the exterior buildings, the property, roof, etc. Therefore, those looking to buy or invest in a condo will just need an additional policy to cover what their specific condo association doesn’t. It’s worth speaking to your realtor or condo association to understand what you’re covered for and what you’re not, so you can find the perfect condo policy that covers all missing gaps.”
When Do You File a Homeowners Insurance Claim?
Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover everything. Before you file a homeowners insurance claim, you need to be extremely familiar with your policy. Keep a hardcopy or at least a digital file of the policy. Know that document inside and out. When you completely understand your homeowner’s policy, you will be better prepared to make a claim.
For example, not everyone will be aware but some homeowners insurance will include personal liability that protects you with personal injury as well as the standard property damage coverage. In other words, if you hurt someone or damage their property, your homeowners insurance offers financial protection if you’re found to be legally liable.
Keep the following factors in mind as you decide if it is worth filing a homeowner’s insurance claim:
The cost of the repairs or damage should be greater than your deductible
It does not do you any good to file a claim when you have to pay for the repair out of pocket anyway. If the cost to replace or repair the problem is not greater than your deductible, don’t file a claim.
File a claim if there is significant damage to or total loss of your home
Always file a homeowner’s insurance claim if you have completely lost your home or if it has significant damage. In these instances, the cost of replacement and repair will be greater than your deductible. You should file a claim.
Wait at least three years before filing a new claim – if possible
If you have filed a homeowner’s insurance claim in the last three years, you should try to avoid filing one again if the damage exceeds your deductible. Filing claims in such quick succession gives the insurance company a reason to deny you coverage or even void your policy. Many underwriters prefer one claim per decade or less. Don’t file a claim too often, or you may have a hard time finding homeowner’s insurance.
How Do You File a Homeowners Insurance Claim?
If you have determined that you can make a claim, now it is time to file it. All insurance companies provide their procedure for the claim filing process in their handbooks/welcome documents. Many of the large national companies even allow you to file digitally.
No matter who you have as an insurance provider, you will need to follow these steps:
- Contact the police if necessary. Some types of claims, such as theft or vandalism, require a police report.
- After you have the police report of the incident, you should contact your insurance provider. If a police report was not necessary, you should contact your insurance provider immediately. The claims department of your insurance provider will tell you how to proceed with the claim.
- As you go through the claims process, make sure to document everything. Written and photographic evidence are key. You can even take a video. Don’t expect anyone to take your word about the damage or situation, you need evidence. Memories can also get fuzzy, so always include names, dates, times, and other specific information when documenting.
After you have filed your claim, your insurance agent will begin an investigation. This can go on for a few weeks or even a month or more. Be patient.
You may want to begin doing repairs as you wait for the claim to be settled. However, consult your policy before you begin. Not every repair is covered by homeowners insurance policies. You need to know that the repair you are doing will be covered if your claim is accepted.
Unfortunately, sometimes claims are denied. There are many reasons for a denial, and many have nothing to do with the strength of your claim. If this happens to you, you may want to hire an insurance dispute lawyer. They can help you receive the maximum compensation from your insurance company.
Buying a home is a complicated process. It is a lot different than being a renter. But, one thing remains the same, and that is your need for insurance. Knowing when and how to file a homeowner’s insurance claim can save you headache and heartache in the future. Keep everything related to your homeowner’s policy readily available and in order. Don’t file too often. And, document everything. That is all you need to know about filing and receiving your homeowners insurance claim.
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We hope you found this blog post on What You Need to Know About Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim useful. Be sure to check out our post on The Ins and Outs of Moving Insurance Coverage for more great tips!
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