Insurance is a critical component of homeownership. It provides you with a safety net against unexpected calamities like fires, storms, and thefts. However, navigating the process of filing a homeowners insurance claim and getting a satisfactory payout can be a daunting task.
As a homeowner, it is crucial to understand the steps you can take to maximize your homeowner’s insurance claim settlement. In this blog, we’ll outline some of those steps for you so you don’t have to stress about it in the future.
Understand Your Policy Inside and Out
Firstly, it’s important to thoroughly understand your insurance policy. Many homeowners don’t fully grasp the coverage of their policies until it’s time to file a claim. Know what your policy covers and what it doesn’t. The standard homeowner’s insurance policy covers the dwelling, personal property, and additional living expenses if your home is uninhabitable. It also typically includes liability protection. However, policies can differ significantly. For example, some risks, such as floods, hurricanes, or sinkholes, may require separate coverage. So, it’s always wise to periodically review your policy with your agent to ensure that it suits your needs.
Next, you need to document everything. In the event of a loss, take photographs or make a video of the damaged areas before any repairs or clean-ups are done. Having visual evidence of the damage can support your claim. Additionally, maintain an inventory of all your personal belongings. It should include the purchase dates, prices, and descriptions of the items. Receipts, manuals, and photos can be very useful in case of a claim. You can also consider using inventory apps to make the task easier. If there is a tropical storm or hurricane approaching your home, take some time before the storm hits to take photos and videos of your home and property. This step is crucial as it makes it easier to substantiate your loss and increase your claim.
Mitigate Further Damage
After an incident, it’s your responsibility as a homeowner to prevent further damage. If a tree falls on your house during a storm, for example, you should arrange for it to be removed to prevent further destruction. Make sure to document all these expenses as they’re typically reimbursable under your policy. But remember, these should be temporary repairs; extensive work should only be done after the insurance adjuster has assessed the damage.
Get Repair Estimates
Obtaining estimates from local contractors can be beneficial. Their professional assessments can serve as a benchmark when dealing with your insurance company’s adjuster. If there’s a significant discrepancy between your contractor’s estimate and the insurance company’s offer, this can be a negotiation point for a higher settlement.
Consider Hiring a Public Insurance Adjuster
You may also want to consider hiring a public insurance adjuster, especially if the claim is significant. Public adjusters, like our team at Harrell Adjusting Services, are licensed professionals who work for you, not the insurance company. We handle every aspect of your claim, from conducting a thorough inspection of the loss site to negotiating with your insurance company. We have a detailed understanding of insurance policies and claims procedures, which can significantly increase your chances of a higher payout. We work on a contingency basis, typically charging a percentage of the claim settlement.
Keep in mind that a public adjuster becomes beneficial when your claim is complex or the damage substantial. If your claim is straightforward and the insurance company’s offer seems fair, you might not need a public adjuster.
Be Patient and Persistent
Lastly, remember that the claims process can take time. Be patient, but also be persistent. Follow up with your insurance company regularly. Ask questions if you don’t understand something. If you’re not satisfied with the insurance company’s offer, don’t be afraid to negotiate. You’re entitled to a fair settlement under your policy.
Trust Harrell Adjusting Services with Your Claim
Homeowners insurance is meant to protect you and your family from sudden and accidental loss. Yet, it can be challenging to navigate the claims process and ensure you get the maximum payout. If you’re struggling with a home, business, or boat claim — we want to help. We work for you, not the insurance company. You have a right to a fair settlement and we’ll work to ensure you get it.