How to file a claim with your home insurance company

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  • If you have any damage to your home or your belongings, it is important to file a claim immediately.
  • Failure to file a claim on time may result in denial of coverage.
  • Many home insurance companies have digital applications that allow claims to be processed faster.
  • See Insider’s Picks for the Best Home Insurance Companies.

Home insurance covers your property and possessions against damage, often referred to as insurance risks. A peril is an event that can damage your home or property, such as theft, fire, or storm.

If something happens to your home, you can have it repaired or rebuilt under home coverage. Personal property coverage includes your furniture and personal effects. Liability insurance protects you if someone is injured on your property and sues for damages.

If you need to make a claim with your home insurance, it is important to file the return in a timely manner and document the damage. Failure to timely notify your home insurance could result in your claim being denied.

How to make a claim with your home insurance company

Home insurance has three components: home coverage, personal property coverage and liability coverage. Additionally, if you are forced out of your home, you may be eligible for loss of use or additional living expenses. When submitting your request, it will fall into one of these four categories.

If you experience loss or damage due to insurance risk, Steve Wilson, Senior Underwriting Manager at Hippo Insurance, recommends keeping in touch with your home insurance company to let them know what’s going on at your home. you and follow these steps when submitting insurance claims:

  1. Contact the insurance company to file a claim as soon as possible.
  2. If your home is damaged, your carrier can provide a list of contractors and offer advice on DIY tips to avoid further damage.
  3. If you think your accommodation is uninhabitable, contact your operator before leave your home. Do not assume that loss of use or additional living charges will apply until you have spoken with your carrier.
  4. In the event of theft or loss, you must file a police report as some carriers will require it. If you have separate jewelry insurance and your jewelry is stolen or lost, you will also need to contact this carrier.
  5. Take photos of the damage before disposal and cleaning.
  6. Beware of price gouging contractors and door-to-door scammers. Ask contractors for their license and insurance credentials to avoid fraud. If you are a tenant, your landlord is responsible for the building and the structure.
  7. Prevent further damage to your property.
  8. Don’t do something that you are not comfortable with / that does not seem safe. Home insurance has a condition to avoid further losses. Focus on a temporary solution rather than a long term solution so that your insurance company can properly access a permanent solution professionally.

The damage must be due to an insurance risk. Damage due to improper maintenance and normal wear and tear is not covered. Consider a residential warranty for regular repairs to equipment or appliances.

Also keep in mind that there are limits to your coverage. Home coverage is the amount to rebuild your home if it is damaged. Basic homeowners’ personal liability coverage generally has a limit of $ 100,000. Likewise, basic personal property coverage has a limit of $ 100,000.

Unless you have increased your limits or purchased a framework insurance policy (additional liability coverage available as a top-up rider to your home insurance), your claims will be subject to those limits, minus your deductible.

You can call the claim number on your policy or make a claim online on your carrier’s website. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many carriers have digital applications for filing claims where you can upload photos of the damage for faster processing.

Homeowners in disaster prone areas may have additional requirements

If you live in a disaster-prone area, such as a part of the country where hurricanes or tornadoes are common, you may need additional endorsements or separate policies for natural disasters.

According to Hippo Insurance, earthquakes, floods, government foreclosures, mudslides, updated ordinances, sewer backups and sinkholes are all risks that will not be covered by home insurance. . These will require additional coverage using a rider policy. Flood insurance is a separate policy.

If you have a separate policy for flood insurance and your home has suffered flood damage, you will need to file a separate claim with that carrier. Do not assume that your home insurance company is in contact with your flood insurance provider.

Actual cash value versus replacement cost

Home insurance policies generally use “replacement cost” when paying for covered damage. Replacement cost is the cost of replacing the item with a new or used product.

The actual cash surrender value (ACV) takes into account the depreciation of the item. For example, if a five-year-old leather sofa is damaged by fire, the actual dollar value takes into account the age of the sofa. The actual cash surrender value is usually less than the replacement value. Flood insurance typically uses actual cash value.

For specialty jewelry and fine art, you will be covered for appraised value less any deductible assuming you have purchased an endorsement.

Home insurance premiums may increase after filing a claim

Filing a claim may increase your insurance premium depending on the number of claims already filed or the amount of damages claimed. This is especially true if you’ve had a dog bite or a liability claim that resulted in a lawsuit. Some carriers will even let customers down if their pet bites or injures someone.

Talk to your home insurance provider to find out how filing a claim can affect future premiums.

Will home insurance cover the move?

“Loss of Use” coverage, also known as “Additional Living Expenses” or ALE, is included in most home and tenant insurance policies and provides reimbursement for temporary accommodation when a peril occurs. damage to your property or to your possessions that make up your house or rental unit. habitable.

For “loss of use” and “additional living expenses” it all depends on your insurance company and it varies by provider. Some carriers will reimburse you for temporary accommodation. Others may have a list of housing alternatives.

Ashlee Tilford, editor-in-chief of, told Insider that most homeowners have a misconception about what constitutes “habitable.” Do not assume that your insurer will pay additional living expenses, as the definition of habitable varies by company.

If you are planning to leave your home due to damage, first contact your home or tenant insurance provider and take detailed photos of the damage. Also make sure to lock down and secure the premises.

If your home insurance company hasn’t provided the level of service you expected, it may be time to select a new provider. Remember, a low price doesn’t mean good customer service. Focus on customer satisfaction rankings, like those from JD Power.

Ronda Lee is Associate Insurance Editor at Personal Finance Insider and covers consumer life, auto, home and tenant insurance. She is also a licensed lawyer who has practiced insurance litigation and defense.

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