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5 Tips When Making a Home Insurance Claim

A House Insurance Claim Form with glasses and a pencil on the form.

Let’s be honest: adult-ing can be overwhelming. There are so many things to keep track of from paying bills, maintaining your home, running errands, ensuring you have all the appropriate insurance policies and financial accounts that “they” say you need to have. But, once you feel like you finally have it all down to a system something breaks – or an accident happens – and it is time to file a home insurance claim.

It can be frustrating, time consuming, and an inconvenience. The very thought of taking on a new task in the midst of everything can feel overwhelming. So overwhelming that you may be tempted to put it off and procrastinate filing a claim with your home insurance company. But you don’t want to delay – filing a home insurance claim in a timely manner will put money back in your pocket faster.

Here are 5 tips to help make the process easier and less scary:


1. Don’t Delay!

Once you know you need to file a home insurance claim, contact your insurance broker right away! This is definitely something you do not want to procrastinate. Depending on your coverage, it can take some time to research and pay-out so you want to make the claim as soon as you can.

If your claim occurred because of storm damage, it’s likely that other homes in the area were also affected. That means there will be more claims and greater demand on your insurer. Submitting a claim immediately can help get you close to the front of the line.   Also, many insurance policies have a time limit on when a claim must be submitted, often 1 year from the date of the loss.

2. Document Damage

You will want to take photos of any damage right away. Do this prior to any clean-up efforts. You will also want to create an inventory of damaged items. This will give your insurer a record of everything that needs to be repaired or replaced. The clearer the record and the more information the insurer has, the better. Details are very helpful.

3. Begin Repairs

If your damage is extreme, don’t delay in making any repairs necessary. Once you have documented the damage, go ahead and begin the repair process. Whether it’s stopping a leak or boarding up a broken window, stopgap repairs can prevent further issues and save time and money. If you don’t take steps to fix an immediate problem and the insurer thinks you could have, you might not be fully covered. Say you don’t board up a broken window and someone climbs through and steals a TV. Your insurance company might not pay for it.

4. Track Expenses

If you do proceed with temporary repairs before receiving a payment from your insurance company, you will want to maintain a record of all your out of pocket costs. As long as you keep receipts, you can submit the expenses to your insurer as part of the claim. Even if you do receive a payment from your insurer upfront, you will still want to maintain a solid record of all your expenses. Often the initial payout does not cover the final total for all repairs, if you want to get paid back in full, you’ll need to prove what you actually spent.

5. Additional Expenses for Your Claim

Sometime the damage to your home is so bad that it becomes unlivable for you and your family. There are some home insurance policies that include “loss of use coverage” which will pay for things like hotel stays and restaurant meals if you can’t live at home. Again, you’ll want to keep all receipts to make sure you’re fully reimbursed for this part of your homeowners insurance claim.


Chastain Otis is here to help

The most important thing to remember is that your insurance broker is here to help! For more information about your options, contact Chastain Otis Insurance Agency today. We will support you through the claims process for your home insurance policy.

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