After a fire, flood or major storm damages your home, you will likely turn to your homeowner’s insurance company for help and resources. The claim that you submit will help you pay for necessary repairs and possibly even temporary shelter until your home is habitable again.
This claim could possibly be the biggest one you ever have to make in your life, so you want to make sure you handle things properly. What are some mistakes that might impact the success of your claim and the compensation you receive?
Failing to document the damage properly
When there’s broken glass all over your living room or a downed tree on your house, you obviously want to start fixing things and cleaning them up right away. However, you also need to document everything carefully, ideally with plenty of photographs and even video (from multiple angles) to help show the extent of the damage and possibly what caused it.
If you don’t document everything, your insurance company might try to fight the claim by alleging that it isn’t the result of a covered situation like storm damage. Your policy may even dictate that you need to wait for an agent or adjuster to visit before starting work.
Not looking at your policy and estimated costs before making a claim
With apps and websites at our fingertips, it has never been easier to start an insurance claim. However, initiating a bunch of tiny claims can be a lot more problematic than gathering everything you need and filing one comprehensive claim against your policy.
While you need to move in a timely manner and not delay your filing any more than is necessary, initiating a claim immediately without documentation or a large number of small claims could slow down a much-needed resolution.
Settling without negotiating
The first settlement offer is typically a starting point for negotiations, not the best offer possible. It may only include costs that you have already paid. It might not even represent everything that your insurance policy covers.
From making sure that repairs don’t affect your property’s value to getting supplementary coverage that you paid for as part of your policy, there is a lot that goes into settling a damage claim. Understanding some of the more common mistakes in large property insurance claims can help you avoid them and make it easier to recognize when you need help.