Filing a homeowners insurance claim should be done promptly after the damage or other problem. Here’s a step-by-step process for filing a home insurance claim.
1. Contact police, if necessary
You should file a police report if there’s a theft, vandalism or burglary. You’ll need this documentation for the insurance claims process.
2. Document the loss
Assess the damage, take photos and document the loss. Make a list of any items that were damaged or stolen. The insurance company will want to know specifics.
3. Stop further damage
If your house was damaged, take action to prevent more destruction to your home and belongings. For instance, if you have a hole in your roof or a smashed window, you should board it up to prevent more damage. But don’t fix the problem, such as repairing the roof or installing a new window, before contacting your insurance company. They may want to send an adjuster out to observe the damage.
Also, don’t throw away damaged items, like a rain-soaked chair, until it’s been documented by the insurance adjuster.
4. Notify your insurance company or agent
Contact your home insurance company or agent as soon as you can to report the loss. Insurance companies may demand that you notify them within a certain period after the loss.
Fill out the claims forms as completely as you can.
5. Meet with an adjuster if the insurance company requests it
The adjuster may ask you questions, review the damage and estimate how much you’re owed.
6. Consider a public adjuster for very large home insurance claims
If you have significant damage, consider hiring a public adjuster. This is a person who will work on your behalf to help you get your claim documented and submitted, and help you negotiate with the insurance company. A large claim can take many months to resolve, and a public adjuster can help you maximize your claim and keep the process moving.