6 Tips for Filing A Home Insurance Claim | TGS Insurance

Tips for Filing A Home Insurance Claim

TGS Insurance » Blog » Homeowners Insurance Resources » Tips for Filing A Home Insurance Claim
Recovering from a storm can be difficult enough without the headache of insurance so we've got tips for filing a home insurance claim to help

Hurricanes can be devastating and lead to some serious damage. Whether your home didn’t survive the storm like you hoped it would, or you just had some minor losses, we have some tips for filing a home insurance claim for windstorm damage. We are here to help you in a stressful time, so here’s how to start.

Act immediately

Filing a claim with your insurance provider as soon as possible is very crucial. The faster you get in touch with your insurance provider, the faster the claims process can begin. You’ll also want to move quickly because the longer you wait, the higher the risk that the conditions of your home may worsen.

Know Your Policy

Knowing your homeowner’s policy will help you understand how filing a home insurance claim properly works and what to expect during the process. Each insurance policy is different, so knowing your specific policy will aid you in pleading your case. 

Document Everything

Take photos and videos of all the damage that happened after the storm had passed. Your initial reaction might be to start cleaning up the mess, but having documentation helps the insurance adjuster properly evaluate the situation. If it is safe to do so, get photos from different angles, so the adjuster is really able to get the full picture.

Get Estimations From Professionals

Documenting and assessing the damages is a step in the right direction, but getting a professional opinion will be more meaningful to your insurance provider. Search for contractors that specialize in storm repairs. They focus on restoring homes that have been affected by a storm and will assess the damages from top to bottom. If you can, get quotes from multiple professionals to see your options. It is also worth asking your insurance provider if they have any recommended contractors; sometimes, working with someone your provider recommends makes the process quicker and easier. 

Be Alert for Scammers

Sadly, windstorm damages lead to scammers who guarantee they will finish the job fast and for a low price. Whether you are filing a claim or not, it is important to research anyone working in your home. Making sure they have the proper credentials and experience is something to look for.

Manage Your Damages

If the windstorm hits a large portion of the city you live in, then you might have to wait long before an insurance adjuster can assess the damages. This means it could delay the repairs to your home, so you will have to take action to prevent the damages from worsening. You can take preventive measures by putting a tarp on your roof, cleaning up flood damage, boarding windows, etc. After you document the damages, document the work you did to show your insurance provider you did the best you could to prevent the damages from getting worse.

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing a Home Insurance Claim

Many homeowners can actually hinder themselves and the claims process by actions they can control. Learn more about some of the most common mistakes we see homeowners make when making a home insurance claim on their policy.

Not Understanding Your Home Insurance Policy

Not knowing what your home insurance policy covers is at the forefront of mistakes for homeowners. Know what you are covered for and how your home insurance works for you. While you should have an expert agent in your corner helping you along the way, it is still important to know what is covered and what isn’t. This will also go a long way when finding the right homeowners policy for your needs and additional coverages such as flood insurance. Knowing that you are in an area prone to windstorms means you’ll likely need windstorm coverage, or you’ll be stuck paying for repairs in the aftermath alone, confused and frustrated as to why your home insurance policy didn’t cover you in the first place. Ask questions of your agent, read your policy, and know what it is you are protected from before disaster strikes.

Failing to Have a Proper Home Inventory List

Not having a proper home inventory list can be detrimental to restoring what is lost in an event such as a burglary or fire. Thankfully, we have come a long way from writing things down and calling it a day. There are ways to create detailed home inventory lists that will help you stay protected, survive fires and other events, and generally help you have the information you’ll need to present when making your claim. To learn more, check out our article on making a good home inventory list for your home here.

Relying on Home Insurance Instead of Routine Maintenance

This ties in with our first point, understanding your policy, but this can also be a problem for many homeowners expecting more of their home insurance policy than it will offer. Pests can be prevented with routine spraying and keeping your home clean. Depending on your policy, clogged gutters can cause you plenty of water damage and possible heartache. Taking care of your home will go a long way in avoiding issues in general and those involving your home insurance claims.

Communicating Poorly and in an Untimely Manner

Failure to communicate is never a good thing in any endeavor, and this theme holds when it comes to filling your home insurance claim. By not communicating with your agent, you miss out on understanding your policy and a timely and adequate resolution to your claim. Not explaining the damage can complicate things but so can waiting. It is best to start the claims process as soon as possible and to communicate as much information as possible so that your insurance carrier can provide the right compensation faster.

Forgoing a Public Adjuster

Larger insurance claims can be a lot for a homeowner to take on alone, and while it can be tempting to attempt these situations alone, complicated claims may require a public adjuster. Without this impartial third party, you may see many additional issues surrounding your claim, including inadequate documentation, missed deadlines, incomplete assessments, etc. Public adjusters may take between 5%-20% of your settlement, but they can ensure that your claim is completed promptly and correctly.

Inadequate Documentation

The perfect situation? Everything you have covered, small and large, will have perfect documentation of its condition before and after the peril in question, with every important document organized and ready. But this is the real world, and we understand this is not always the case. Still, keeping the documents you need during a claim safely and organized will go a long way. This also goes back to your inventory list and why it is important.

A lack of documentation can make or break your claim, so if you have to document the aftermath of an event, having “too many” details and sources of documentation will always be preferable to having too little.

Take detailed pictures and videos that are organized by categories, such as jewelry or appliances. Instead of documenting everything at once, be sure to separate things and provide adequate detail within each category. You should also maintain these documents in a safe place with backups, preferably online, in the event of an extremely destructive peril such as a fire. You should also be sure to maintain receipts, licenses, certificates of ownership, etc., for the things you have insured.

Making Excessive Home Insurance Claims

Paying for home insurance means homeowners expect their insurance carrier to be there when they are needed, and luckily, TGS Insurance offers more than 35 A-rated insurance companies that are there for our clients every day, but excessive claims will raise your rates no matter who you enroll with. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t make claims in fear of a rate increase, but it is a warning to assess a situation and see if it is appropriate to go through a claims process. Smaller claims can increase your rate and end up costing you more money in the long run. For larger events, homeowners should utilize their home insurance a nd file a claim. Smaller claims are often better handled by the homeowner directly. Are you noticing an increase in your homeowners insurance?

Get the Right Coverage With TGS Insurance

TGS Insurance is here to help you when disaster strikes. The easiest way to file a home insurance claim for damage is by contacting us online or giving us a call at 1-855-661-4064. Following these steps is crucial and will help you know exactly what to do when filing a home insurance claim