No one wants to have to file a home insurance claim, but unfortunately, natural disasters and other incidents can happen. When they do, it’s important to know what not to do in order to avoid common mistakes that can slow down the process or even lead to your claim being denied. In this blog post, we’ll discuss five of the most common mistakes people make when filing a home insurance claim and how you can avoid them.
Before we jump into our list, let’s cover some facts about home insurance claims. According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2017, there were over two million homeowners insurance claims filed in the United States alone. Of those, about one-third were for wind and hail damage, with water damage and freezing coming in second and third respectively. The average claim payout was just over $11,000.
In the state of Florida, the majority of claims are due to wind and hail accounting for 45.5% of claims filled in 2020. The average home claim payout was $13,955. When it comes to natural disasters payout numbers go up, but the process becomes more complicated.
With that in mind, here are 5 mistakes to avoid when filing a home insurance claim:
Filing Too Soon:
It’s important to give your insurance company time to assess the damage and determine what caused it before you file a claim. This is especially true if severe weather is involved, as they will need to send an adjuster out to inspect the property. Filing too soon could result in your claim being denied.
Not Getting Multiple Estimates:
Be sure to get multiple estimates for repairs before you submit them to your insurance company. This will ensure that you are getting a fair price for the work and that the repairs are actually necessary.
Failing to Document the Damage:
Be sure to take pictures or videos of the damage as soon as possible so that you have a record of it. This will be helpful when filing your claim and providing evidence to the insurance company.
Not Reading Your Policy:
It’s important that you understand what is and is not covered in your policy before you file a claim. Otherwise, you could be in for a rude awakening when your claim is denied.
Not Keeping Track of Expenses:
Be sure to keep all receipts and documentation of any expenses related to the damage so that you can be reimbursed by the insurance company. This includes things like temporary housing, food, and other necessary expenses.
This article would not be complete if we do not help with some frequently asked questions.
How Do I Know if I Have Enough Coverage?
This is a tricky question and one that you should speak to your insurance agent about. They will be able to help you determine if you have enough coverage based on the value of your home and your personal belongings.
What Should I Do if My Claim is Denied?
If your claim is denied, the first thing you should do is reach out to your insurance agent and ask why. They may be able to help you appeal the decision or file a new claim. You can also hire a public adjuster to help you with the process.
What if I Can’t Afford the Deductible?
If you can’t afford your deductible, you may be able to get help from the government (FEMA), or your community or the last resource is debt such as a credit card or personal loan.
Why would home insurance deny a claim?
There are many reasons why home insurance companies deny claims. The most common reason is that the damage is not covered by the policy or that it is excluded. Other reasons include:
- The claim was filed after the deadline.
- The damage was caused by negligence on the part of the homeowner.
- The claim was for a pre-existing condition.
- The homeowner did not maintain the property.
- The damage was caused by a natural disaster that is not covered by the policy.
If you are unsure about why your claim was denied, reach out to your insurance agent or claim adjuster for more information. They should be able to help you understand their decision and what you can do next.
Filing a home insurance claim is never fun, but by avoiding these common mistakes, you can make the process go more smoothly. If you have any questions about your policy or the claims process, be sure to contact your insurance agent or even better hire a professional insurance adjuster. Keep in mind that insurance adjusters will represent you and they will be more than happy to help you out and answer any questions you may have.
If you live in Florida and have been affected by a hurricane, call us! Our team of experts is ready to assist you and guide you through the claims process. We have years of experience dealing with insurance companies and we know how to get you the maximum settlement for your claim. Contact us today for a free claim analysis!