In The Details

Financial Articles from Hefren-Tillotson

Managing Your Homeowners Policy Before and After a Claim

Written by
November 6, 2015

As consumers, we often try to avoid the purchase of products we may never need. These products, whether tangible or intangible, are typically only of any value IF needed. Why do we even purchase these products? The answer is simple the cost of NOT having them if something were to go wrong is far too great. In other words, the potential future benefit is far more valuable than the present cost, which is the most common reason for purchasing insurance products. So, the questions is, what should you do in the event of a claim?

Before a Claim Occurs (Be Proactive):
Take inventory of what you own.

  • Be prepared for the claims adjustor to ask, What did you have and what was damaged? Would you be able to remember everything you owned in the event of a total loss? How many suits do you own, and what kind? Purses? DVDs? Jewelry?
  • Video your home both inside and out.
    -Take photos or video of each room; open closets and drawers; walk through your garage or shed; open jewelry boxes
    -Keep a copy of the video or photos in a fireproof box and give a second copy to a close friend or family member

Have your insurance agent review your homeowners policy.

  • If you have a finished basement, is water backup a covered cause of loss, or excluded? If covered, how much total coverage do you have for any one claim?
  • Is personal injury protection covered under the liability portion of your policy?
  • Do you have valuable jewelry, guns, coins, or artwork? How much coverage do you have if they are stolen?
  • How much coverage do you have for debris removal or ordinance coverage?
  • Do you have Replacement Cost coverage on your personal property?

READ YOUR POLICY! Understand what you are buying and what the policy covers and excludes this will prevent surprises if a claim were to occur.

After a Claim Occurs:

  • File the claim as soon as possible by reporting it to your agent and insurance carrier.
  • Provide the Claims Adjustor with evidence of your property (video or photos) and give an accurate report of the claim.
  • Take steps to avoid any additional damage to your property but only if you can safely do so this is a responsibility of the policy holder.
  • Most importantly: Stay calm understanding your coverages before a claim will help make the claim process go much smoother. Remember, this a time for the insurance carrier to show why you chose them, and they will likely do their best to get you through this difficult time as quickly and easily as possible.