Dealing with your insurance provider is never a task you look forward to. It’s a stressful experience dealing with paperwork and deadlines, all with the value of your claim on the line.
Walking into the process well-prepared will make a big difference. These tips should help you reduce stress and make a successful claim.
#1 Make a List of Belongings
If you’re concerned about having to make a claim in the future, you can make your life a lot easier by creating a home inventory of your belongings before you have to deal with the insurance company.
No one ever expects their home to be lost or damaged, but it never hurts to be prepared. If you live in an area that’s prone to flooding, wildfires, or other natural disasters, make this part of your disaster-preparedness plan.
Be sure to update it annually or any time you make a significant purchase.
#2 Learn How to Work with Insurance Adjusters
When you file your claim, an adjuster will be assigned to it. This person may be an employee of the insurer, or they may be a third-party contractor. Either way, they’re paid by the insurer, and there is an incentive to minimize your claim as they want to continue working with the insurer.
This is important because they are the person who reviews your documentation of the damage and assesses the cost to repair your home and replace your belongings. It’s also important that you not make statements to them that could inadvertently place blame on yourself.
One of the most effective ways to work with the insurance adjuster is to get help with your house insurance claim from a public adjuster or lawyer who specializes in negotiating insurance claims.
#3 Document Interactions with the Adjuster
It’s important that you can remember clearly what interactions you’ve had with the adjuster. Keep a journal or spreadsheet – though it’s inadvisable to make recordings without their permission. Nevertheless, it helps to have some kind of personal record.
You will also want to hold onto all of the documents from the insurance process. You may need to disclose the fire damage to buyers if you decide to sell later on. Having accurate documentation will help provide clarity in the future.
#4 Prevent Further Loss
Your insurer may expect you to take steps to prevent further losses. For example, you may need to use tarps to prevent further water damage due to snow or rain. You may also have to board up windows to discourage looting or squatting.
#5 File Your Paperwork on Time
The everyday stress of life goes on, even when you don’t have the comforts of home to retreat to at the end of a long day. It can be tough keeping up with all the paperwork and filing deadlines you have, but it’s essential that you meet them all. Missing a deadline could mean you’re not eligible for a payout.
An insurance lawyer or public adjuster will help keep you on top of deadlines and help you with filing everything.
With these five tips, your home insurance claim should go smoothly.