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Home Insurance - Claim Filing
When being a homeowner, sometimes things happen where an insurance claim needs to be filed. It might be that a tree fell on the deck during a bad storm, water seeped into a basement, or hail damaged the roof. No matter what the case, if you own a home and need to file a claim, the following steps will help prepare you for what you need to do:
  • You need to notify your insurance company of any problem right away

  • Next, you need to make a list of all the damage to the best of your ability. If you have a camera, especially a digital camera, take pictures. While waiting for the adjuster to show up, you can spend the time gathering any receipts, cancelled checks, or other documentation showing the value of what was damaged.

  • Although you should have done this at the time you purchased your insurance, you should take your policy out and review it carefully. For instance, if you have a tree that broke off and damaged your deck, look at your policy to see if it also covers any broken lawn furniture, planters, statues, or other items damaged.

  • Make sure you do not have any damages fixed prior to the adjuster coming out to do his or her inspection. While it might be tempting to start cleaning things up, you need to leave everything alone so that the adjuster can see the exact damages.

  • Depending on the severity of the damage, you may need to help direct the adjuster to your home. An example of this would be tornado damage where the entire area was destroyed. If you should lose your home to a catastrophic event such as this, take spray paint and scrap wood to write your name and address on it, and then display it where the adjuster can find you.

  • Although your mind might be elsewhere, try to keep notes on what you and the adjuster discussed

  • Make sure you do not agree to a final claim settlement unless and until you are satisfied, that it is fair. If you want, you can always have an independent estimate performed of which you are entitled.

  • If the claim relates to a major occurrence, then a public adjuster might assist. If so, be sure you determine the price before you do anything.

  • Finally, before you zoom in on one contractor to have the repairs done, take the time to get more than one bid. You will need to use someone with experience and one with a good reputation for doing good work at a fair price.
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