5 Things to Expect After Filing a Home Insurance Claim
Most people have no idea what to expect after filing a home insurance claim until after they have gone through entire process of filing for a loss. Subsequent to submitting your claim to the insurance company, you will be assigned a claims adjuster to investigate the damage. The adjuster will get in touch with you and inform you of the basic process of how the insurance claim will be handled. The adjuster will review your homeowners policy to see exactly what coverage and deductibles apply to the damage that your home has suffered.
- The damage is estimated: There are different levels of home insurance claims; while some are quite simple, others are much more complex. The claims adjuster will normally ask you to obtain a written estimate for minimal damage claims. In most cases, the adjuster will then quickly settle the claim by issuing you a check minus the deductible to cover the damage. It is then up to you to hire someone to fix the damage or you can repair it yourself. For more complex claims that involve major damage, such as your entire roof blew off in a storm, the adjuster will usually want to come to your home to assess the damage himself. He will take photos and talk with you about how the insurance claim will be handled. Often the meeting will entail lots of paperwork and you will be asked to provide several estimates of the expected costs to repair the damage, which, along with the adjuster’s own estimate, will be used to estimate the amount of money needed to cover the repairs.
- Process time will vary: Commonly, simple damage claims can be settled in just days, or at the most, a few weeks. More complex home insurance claims often take much longer. It takes time to collect several damage estimates and to schedule a contractor to make the necessary repairs. Each claim is different and requires a certain amount of time to determine all of the facts and conditions. However, once you have filed a homeowners insurance claim, never hesitate to periodically check with your adjuster and contractors to see that all is going smoothly and just how much progress has been made. Claims adjusters are often overwhelmed with claims and the ones they get to first often belong to their customers who squawk the loudest.
- Check is issued: The claims adjuster will issue a check to you to cover the repairs of the damage. Make sure the check does not say full and final settlement, because there is always the chance that the contractor could find further major damages once he begins the job. If you sign and cash a check that states it is the final settlement, you could get stuck paying for covered claim damages out of your own pocket.
- A contractor is hired: Run a background check on the list of the prospective contractors you have chosen. Check them out online with the Better Business Bureau and search for positive and negative reviews about them. You can also ask the contractors for names and numbers of people who have used their services in the past. Furthermore, ask if you can visit properties that they have previously done work at. Speak with each of the contractors and ask them to tell you about their knowledge of dealing with home insurance claims, along with the experience they have in their field of work. Obtain copies from the contractors of licenses including employment, labor, and tax laws. Ask the contractors to provide you a solid quote of the costs for the repairs and/or replacements in your home. Choose a contractor and sign a contract with him for services to be rendered.
- The contractor is paid: Payments should be made to the contractor throughout the repair process as each step of the work is completed. This helps to prevent fraud or uncompleted repairs and also keeps the contractor moving along in a timely manner. Have the contractor sign a receipt for each payment amount you make and what it is for, and keep all of the receipts filed in a safe place.