What Is Covered By Your Homeowners Insurance Claim
Every homeowner will require a different amount of coverage because each home has different coverage needs. There are three typical homeowners insurance policy types each covering perils with varying degrees of coverage, HO2, HO3, and HO5 policies:
A basic form of homeowners insurance coverage that will only protect homeowners against specifically named perils to your personal property . If not explicitly named in your policy, you will not be covered.
Inhalation and ingestion of food or other object that obstructs breathing.
*Image and Source: The Insurance Information Institute via The National Safety Council
A more comprehensive form of home insurance policy that provides larger coverage limits than you will find with an HO3 policy and more coverages. The biggest advantage is that homeowners are protected against open perils including personal property. When you are covered against open perils, everything is covered except those listed specifically in the policy. Those exclusions will not be covered but everything else will. Because of this and the larger coverage limits/options, homeowners can expect to pay more money on their premiums than an HO3 policy.
Do I Have To Pay My Mortgage If My House Is Destroyed
If your home is destroyed and the settlement amount you get from your insurer exceeds the outstanding balance on your mortgage loan, you may be able to sign the check over to your lender to pay the balance due.
“If there is any settlement money left after paying off your mortgage, your lender will issue you another check for your portion you can keep or they may insist on rebuilding your home,” Worters says.
Provide Documentation Of Everything
In the event of, say, a claim for personal property loss, youâre going to need to substantiate the loss before youâll be sent a reimbursement check. Having receipts, a list, or ahome inventory that confirms the value and description of damaged or stolen items will improve your chances of getting fully reimbursed down the line.
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Hire A Public Adjuster Or Lawyer
If you’re not happy with the way that your claim is being handled, it can help to get a second opinion. A public adjuster or lawyer can help you get a better understanding of what your policy covers. If they find that your insurance company isn’t providing you with a fair settlement, you can dispute the settlement offer.
What Does It Mean To Make A Claim In Writing
You may file your home insurance claim in writing by filling out the claim form. And, you may mail or courier this form along with other documents to the claims department. It is important to attach relevant documents such as proof of loss, receipts, invoices, photos etc. to support your claim. The form has to have all details complete and truthful as any false statement would be a crime. Most insurance companies may have an option to file a claim online. You may do this by filling out the claims form on their websites with all the information.
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Report To Police If Theres A Burglary
If you come back from work and you discovered that there an obvious attempt by thieves to break into your home, the first thing you need to do before picking anything is to call the police.
Informing the police about the recent incidence will serve two purposes. First, as a security measure to protect your life because you have no idea if the perpetrator is somewhere hiding. Secondly, in order to have a properly documented report you can tender before the court or your insurer.
Can You Do The Repairs Yourself For An Insurance Claim
Youre allowed to complete repairs yourself, but if you have a mortgage, youll need approval from your lender. While most mortgage companies require that repairs be done by a qualified contractor, some may allow for the homeowners to do the labor themselves. Again, this depends on the lender. In most cases, if the loss is a larger job that requires a building permit, youll need a general contractor. But losses with simple repairs that dont require a permit, such as drywall, baseboards, painting, etc., can be done by you or someone you find.
If you have a contractor do the work, your insurance company may make the check out to both you and the contractor. This way, the insured has control over the funds to ensure that the repairs are done correctly.
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Does My Home Insurance Cover Roof Damage Caused By A Hurricane
Home insurance for hurricane-related damage can be a bit tricky. Home insurance generally covers wind damage to roofs, but some insurers exclude certain types of hurricane-related damage. For example, some insurers in Atlantic coastal states will exclude wind-related damage, meaning roof damage wont be covered by a standard home insurance policy.
You might need windstorm insurance as an endorsement to your home insurance policy or as a standalone policy. If you live in an area thats prone to hurricanes, talk with an agent to make sure there are no gaps in your coverage. A good hurricane insurance plan is typically a mix of homeowners insurance, flood insurance and wind insurance .
Are There Consequences To Filing A Claim
If you file a lot of claims, this might spur your home insurer to raise your rates or cancel your policy once its up for renewal.
Youll look like a risk, says Gusner. Depending on how large the claim is and how many youve had, your insurer may nonrenew you for the next period.
However, assuming youve been careful about how often you file claims, your policy shouldnt change drastically.
Its unlikely that your policy would be canceled, says Gusner. When in doubt, ask your agent whether or not its worth doing in the long run, and how it could affect your policy.
How Much Does Home Insurance Go Up After A Claim
One of the most common questions people have following a disaster is, “Will filing a homeowners insurance claim raise my rates?” The answer to that is maybe. It depends on where the homeowner lives, their claims history, and who their insurer is.
In some cases, homeowners insurance claims can raise premiums by 10% or more. But in other cases, it may not have a noticeable effect on rates, especially if the claim was small. Homeowners are more likely to see rate hikes when they’ve filed multiple claims or they’ve filed a large claim. Some insurers may even drop them as customers.
Insurance rates typically remain increased for about five years, though it depends on how long the homeowner’s state allows these claims to remain on the homeowner’s record. Once it falls off, the homeowner’s rates should fall back to pre-claim levels.
How Do Home Insurance Claims Work
The cost you pay is pooled and used by insurers to payout. When you begin the process, money is taken from the pooled money to cover your payout. You are responsible for paying the deductible amount, and your insurer will pay the remainder of the costs for included perils.
It will help with the cost to replace these items, subject to your limits .
Personal items such as jewelry, art, and collectibles may not be included and you may need an insurance rider to cover them.
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After You Have Rebuilt Or Relocated
- Once you have re-established your home, take time to do a new home inventory.
- Once you have completed the home inventory, talk with your agent to make sure your home or renter insurance policy is adequate to cover your new home or the contents at your new location.
If you have any questions about the coverages in your policy, or if you need help with a problem regarding your claim following a fire or other loss at your home, contact the Division at 687-0700 or 872-3234.
Use Your Preferred Contractor For A Repair Estimate
During a repair estimate, you can use your preferred contractor. A dependable contractor will be able to make an accurate estimate.
If you wait for the claims adjuster, they may assess your repair costs based on lowball bids. The adjuster could also miss some of the damage or underestimate the extent of necessary repairs.
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Should You File A Home Insurance Claim
Whether or not you should file depends on many factors, including :
- The cost
- Your ability to pay for repairs out of pocket
- Loss of your claims free discount
In most instances, it makes more sense and is less hassle to pay for small damage out of pocket, especially if you have the money to cover the repairs. Consider all costs before filing – even small ones can have an impact.
Should I File A Home Insurance Claim For Minor Repairs
Even if your repairs surpass your deductible, that doesnt mean you should definitely file, because it could prompt your insurer to raise rates.
As a general rule of thumb, if you can afford the cost of repairs, its best to pay out of pocket, says Gusner. I would advise paying out of pocket for anything up to $1,000 over your deductible.
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Start A Home Inventory List
Maintaining a list of your personal belongings can help streamline the claims process when damage occurs. Make a list of all of your furniture, artwork and valuables. Include as much information as you can about each item, like the purchase date, original price or appraised value and photos. Having a detailed list to show your insurance company will make it much easier to determine the value of any damaged property.
If Your Home Has Been Damaged:
- Get the OK to reenter your home. If your home has extensive damage, do not go back inside until cleared to do so by emergency personnel or local government officials, even if the damage is confined to one room.
- Have your info ready. Typically, when you report your claim, you will be asked to provide your name, contact info, policy info, type and date of loss, and a description of the loss and of any injuries. If you have a home inventory, you may want to have it handy. Generally, your claim will be assigned a claim number and a claim professional, also called an adjuster, who will work with you to adjust your claim.
- Take steps to mitigate further damage, such as buying tarps to cover holes in your roof. Be sure to save your receipts.
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Review The Homeowners Insurance Policy
Before contacting the insurance company, it’s a good idea to give the policy a quick read-through, if you have it handy, to ensure that the type of claim is covered under the policy terms. Ideally, homeowners are already somewhat familiar with the policy terms as reviewing them is part of the basics of buying homeowners insurance. Some things like flood damage aren’t covered under a traditional homeowners insurance policy and require special coverage.
It’s also a good idea to review any rules related to filing a homeowners insurance claim. For example, most homeowners policies require customers to file claims within one year of the damage if they want it to be covered.
Follow Up As Necessary
It takes time to file a homeowner claim — anywhere from a few weeks to a year or more if it’s a particularly complicated claim and the homeowner and insurer dispute how much the insurer should pay for the damages.
The insurer should keep the homeowner abreast of what’s going on with their claim, but if the homeowner has questions about what documents they should submit or what’s taking so long, they shouldn’t hesitate to reach out and express their concerns. The same goes for homeowners who don’t feel their insurer has paid them an appropriate amount for their claim.
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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Home Insurance Claim
You may want to maximize your claim payout for damage or loss to your home by following the below tips:
- Inform the claims adjuster about any structural damage as it would affect the repair cost estimates. Let them know of any upgrades, appliances or premium materials that were used in the structure.
- Give them an up to date home contents inventory along with any receipts, photos or other proof of possession.
- You may include damaged food, clothing, and other personal items in the list. Also, mention the cost for restocking your pantry and fridge. Most insurers may pay up to $1000 for food damage. If you have landscaped garden or some garden artifacts then include those too in your inventory. It is best to keep the damaged items for assessment unless they are hazardous to health or safety.
- Sometimes you may need to do a temporary repair to prevent further damage. Then you may give those receipts to the adjuster too as part of the claim.
- Get an independent repair estimate from a contractor. You may then compare it with the one your claim adjuster gives you to ensure that your settlement is fair.
- For a huge claim, it might be worthwhile to hire an independent loss adjuster. And you may also hire a claims attorney to fight against an unfair settlement.
- Keep a record of all your communications with the insurance company about your claim. This may serve as proof of your agreement with the insurer about the claim and damages.
Other Things Not Covered
Additionally, since its your responsibility to maintain your home, policies dont cover damage caused by a lack of maintenance. So repairing your roof due to wear and tear, or replacing it because its lifespan is over, wont be paid for by insurance.
Lack of maintenance could also come back to bite you after a storm. If your roof was old or not well-maintained before the storm, you could have trouble getting full reimbursement.
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Get Your Coverage Details
When you contact your agent or insurance company, find out whats covered in your policy. You can also probably find it on your account page on the insurers website.
A standard homeowners insurance policy covers damage to the homes structure as well as personal property, minus a deductible. The amount youre paid will depend on the kind of coverage you have. Though replacement cost coverage should cover the cost of repairing or replacing your home and any lost or damaged items, actual cash value coverage will pay you the value of your home and the damaged items inside, less depreciation.
Your policy also may cover the loss of use of your home and additional living expenses such as rent or hotel bills, restaurant meals, transportation, clothing, and other expensesup to a limitwhen your home becomes uninhabitable or inaccessible due to fire. If its accessible and habitable but you cant go back to it due to mandatory evacuation orders, youre covered for ALE, up to a limit.
Gain Better Understanding And Better Coverage With Tgs Insurance
Working to find our clients the best possible home insurance coverage for the lowest price is only part of what we do. TGS Insurance helps our clients save money by comparison shopping among more than 35 top-rated insurance brands, but we are also there for our clients well beyond enrollment to assist when needed. Whether this means to better understand your policy, bundle your home with an auto or umbrella insurance policy for even more savings, help you file your claim, or guide you should a claim be denied, we are here for it all. Save money and receive unmatched customer service when you enroll with TGS Insurance.
About Katie Rosario
Katie has been in the marketing industry for over 10 years and has a strong passion for writing great content. She has been writing for TGS Insurance for three years and strives to make every piece of content she works on informative and easy to read. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and spending time with her family.
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Receive The Claim Payout And Repair The Damage
Once you’ve accepted the settlement, your insurance company will either send you a check or initiate an electronic transfer. If you have a large claim, the insurance company may issue two payments â one to secure a contractor and begin work, and a second after the adjuster inspects the completed repair.
The payout process can be more complicated if you have a mortgage on your home. Because your lender is invested in your property, they have equal rights to insurance payouts. The insurance company will usually issue one check directly to you and the other to your lender, which they’ll hold in an escrow account until the work is completed.
Occasionally if your claim involves major structural damage, you could receive an initial payment right after you file your claim so that you can get repairs started immediately. Unlike a settlement offer, you are able to submit another claim later if you find more damage when work begins.
Beginning The Claim Process:
- Report your claim. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. If you are a Travelers customer, you can report a claim anytime online or by calling 1.800.Claim33. The sooner you report it, the sooner your insurer may be able to help.
- Inspecting the damage. The claim professional typically will call you to discuss what happened, what your insurance policy may or may not cover and make arrangements to inspect the damage in person.
- Document your losses. Using photos or videos can help you remember things that you may have lost. If you dont have an inventory, look for photos of the damaged areas. Youll want to make a list of everything damaged inside your home.
- Save your receipts. When making any necessary temporary repairs or living arrangements, protecting property from further damage or making temporary housing arrangements, be sure to save your receipts. Your insurer may ask you to provide them as part of the claim process.
We are an insurance company that cares. We help you get the coverage that meets your needs to help protect the things that are important to you, so you dont have to worry.
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