As a homeowner, have you ever wondered what you would do if your home was damaged by a fire, wind, water, or any other natural disaster? It’s important to note that if your home receives these types of damages, the burden of proof to prove your loss is on you–the “policyholder.”
The cost of homeowners insurance claims has drastically increased, resulting in American homeowners paying higher premiums than ever. Since homeowners are paying historically higher premiums, understanding your insurance policy is key. This is especially important if you want to get the compensation you deserve.
When policyholders (you) aren’t sure how to get the most out of their homeowners’ insurance claim, they lose money that’s rightfully theirs. Instead of covering the costs of repairs for your home, homeowners insurance companies pour that money back into their trillion-dollar insurance industry.
Unfortunately, there are many technicalities when it comes to filing a homeowners insurance claim. Lucky for you, we have compiled a few tips to help you get the most from your insurance agency.
Who Can You Trust?
Every year, the insurance industry devotes billions of dollars to convince you they are your friend and the one you can depend on when a disaster occurs. And every year, the courts hear case after case where homeowners are taken advantage of by insurance companies, resulting in lower claim payouts to help boost corporate profits.
Not every homeowner’s insurance company will lowball your settlement offer, but you still need to be aware that an insurance agent is not your friend. They have a job to do, and part of that job is to increase corporate profits by minimizing losses that conflict with your best interest.
If you have any questions regarding your homeowners’ insurance claim, seek help by reaching out to a licensed public insurance adjuster. These licensed adjusters can be trusted to provide you with sound advice with your best interest in mind.
Know Your Policy
Homeowners are commonly not fully informed on what their insurance fully covers. Although most homeowners have a good understanding of the basic parameters their policy covers, there still might be some minor details that get lost.
Educating yourself on your homeowners’ insurance policy can save you from a severe headache.
Part of being an educated policyholder means understanding the details of your policy. Know the policy limits regarding what is and what’s not covered, making sure your insurance policy doesn’t leave you under-covered when a disaster strikes.
Ensuring You Succeed
Now that you understand the importance of your homeowners’ policy it’s time to file a claim. Demonstrating your ability to move your property insurance claim through the process communicates a good sign to both your insurance company and claims adjuster that they can’t take advantage of you. To ensure success, you’ll need to:
- Understand what your policy does and does not cover.
- Follow the claims process outlined in your policy, making certain you meet all contract obligations and deadlines.
- Understand which parts of your policy are subject to interpretation.
- Develop your claim strategy based on your understanding of coverages, endorsements, exclusions, and policy limits.
- Document everything. Seriously.
- Present your position and documentation to your insurance claims adjuster.
- Negotiate for the settlement you want, need, and deserve.
The process of a homeowners insurance claim is complicated, time-consuming, and stressful, but remember the claims process moves through predictable stages. Therefore it is easy to assume what step will come next in your claim process.
Prepare For Disasters in Advance
In an ideal world, you will have planned for this ahead of time. But many people don’t.
Preparation is key when it comes to maximizing your home’s insurance claim. The best way for you as a homeowner to prepare for any sudden disasters is to maintain a home inventory and keep updated pictures of your property.
Keeping an updated inventory of your property is truly a lifesaver if a disaster were to happen. It ensures that you don’t forget to include any key items of personal property during a chaotic time, and helps reinforce the insurance claim process.
The ability to provide before and after documentation to your insurer protects you from the damage being dismissed as pre-existing or an issue of wear and tear.
If you were to step outside your home would you be able to list all the items you own?
Even if you were able to list everything, would you be able to give detailed descriptions such as purchase date, cost, model, and serial number on the contents of your home?
Once a disaster strikes, having the right response is crucial. With that being said, it’s important that you have supporting documentation.
Keeping any updated inventory on hand is essential. It ensures that you don’t forget to include any key items on a personal property claim during a very chaotic time. Furthermore, an updated inventory helps facilitate the homeowners’ insurance claim filing. Having updated photos on file is another way to make certain your home insurance claim is not denied.
Most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for additional living expenses, but documentation will be essential when filing claim forms. This is one of the primary ways homeowners insurance companies disqualify policyholders from coverage for issues that should be covered. Providing both documentation of images and inventory of your home makes it much harder for a claims adjuster to deny your claim.
Make Necessary Repairs to Your Home
When dealing with damaged items such as a broken window or leaking roof, it’s essential that you make temporary repairs. When issues like this arise, it can quickly escalate to additional structural damage and turn minor repairs into major ones.
In these types of situations, homeowners insurance companies often dismiss a claim based on the fact that the homeowner waited too long to make repairs. Make sure that when making temporary repairs, you get multiple repair estimates as well as document all repair estimates and receipts. This will help confirm your reimbursement for the following repairs that were provided, in case of the event a reimbursement is needed.
Don’t Accept Denials From The Insurance Company
You have homeowners insurance for a reason, and you have paid your premiums to ensure that your home is fully covered. If a disaster were to strike today and you need to submit a claim, it’s important to understand your rights as it relates to your policy. Research the rights specific to your claim and be prepared to counterclaim an insurance company denial.
At DJW Property Management, we pride ourselves on managing safe, well-maintained homes that attract quality renters. To make sure that your home is fully protected from any damages we bring forth regular expectations to identify potential problems. Give us a call today if you are looking for long-term tenants who will pay their rent on time and care for your property!