Should I Get An Estimate For Damage To My Home Before Filing a Claim?

Jan 20, 2021 | Personal Insurance

With so many things happening in the world these days, the last thing anyone wants is to deal with damages due to one’s home. But sometimes, it just really needs to be done.

Sad Reality

Filing a claim due to an accident, natural disaster, or any unforeseen events can be the worst thing a homeowner can experience. Who would have wanted to deal with all the hassle of filing claims not to mention the ordeal that you have to face after the damage?

But remember, this unfortunate situation is the very reason why you get home insurance in the first place. The fact that you chose the insurance company that you are at is because you trust them with your house and investments. Hence, during unexpected trouble, the one that you need to inform first is your insurer.

Now the question is, do you need to have the damage to your house estimated first before you file a claim?

The answer is No. It is your insurance company’s job to protect you from valid damages, so let them do their job first before making a move on your own.

After an accident or damage, contact your insurer ASAP!

Your Home Insurance company must be the first to know about the damage. Generally, every insurance policy contract requires you to report any kind of property damage claim immediately. It depends on the insurance company, some accept over the phone, and some need to be online. Failure to report in the given time-limit can result in a possible denial of your claim.

Now, you might think that this is quite hard to do especially if, for example, you need to evacuate due to a fire or tornado where we all know that saving our lives, our loved ones, and possessions are our priority above anything else.

However, again, if it is in the contract that you need to inform your insurance company about the damages, still, you need to comply within the given timeframe. Because the claims process will begin once you already notify your insurer about the said damage. 

The typical home insurance claims process

Although each insurance company has different rules in some way, still there are always common policies insurance companies have. Hence, here is the typical process for home insurance claims 

  • Reporting a claim

The first step of the claim will require you to provide the following information: your name, address, policy number, and the type of claim you are filing such as fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, or wind storm, together with the description of the damage to your property. Hence, make sure that you already have all this information handy before you make a call.

  • Assigning a professional claims agent

Your insurance company will assign someone from their company to handle your claim. This person will be the one to help you and assist you with all the required procedures needed by the insurance company to process your claims.

  • Initial Contact

This is where a professional agent will contact you to know every detail about the damage or loss. Also, the agent will discuss your insurance coverage and how the company will manage your claim. Be mindful of all the information and advice the agent will give you because this will help you in handling the claims properly. Read your policy to know the ins and outs of your insurance coverage and ask questions. 

  • Evaluation of the claim

Now, this step is a thorough gathering of information about anything that can contribute to the claim. An investigation is needed in order to do so, and the claims professional is the one who will conduct the inspection, collecting facts, talking to witnesses, and estimating the total damage. In this step, all the notes or files that you have regarding the claim are vital. So make sure that after the damages or accident you should document it by writing notes about the information to ensure that you will not miss any information about the claim.

  • Resolution

Each resolution is different depending on the severity of the damage. For simple claims, you may receive the payment for the damages after the first visit and the estimated repairs have been calculated. However, for more complicated claims, the resolution and payment for the damages may take a while to release due to the need for a more thorough investigation. 

  • Closing of claim

After all the necessary steps that are needed to be done and the claim was already resolved, then your insurance company can now close the claim. If in any case that you still have some questions, you can always contact your claims professional for assistance. 

Moreover, if you have a replacement cost policy set up on your insurance, there may be two or more payments before the damages can be paid off. Generally, the first payment is for the actual cash value of the things that were covered, and the second payment can be claimed after the items were all replaced.

Make sure to secure the damaged area

It is your responsibility to mitigate the damages post-disaster. It is included in your contract that aside from your number one responsibility to report the damage to your insurer as soon as possible.

You also need to ensure that no additional damage will be done to the premises. Because in case there are more damages done after the initial incident, that may lead to a longer investigation or worse denial of the claim. 

You should also need to keep the damaged area intact. Meaning, don’t throw away anything from the scene. If you are in doubt that something might be helpful or might be the cause to worsen the damage, don’t remove it. As much as possible keep the area the same as it is.

Also, never try to make changes like fixing or repairing anything until approved by your insurance company. Yes, it is so hard to move in a messy room, and having the urge to fix it yourself can be frustrating especially if it seems like repairing something won’t hurt, but don’t.

No matter what happens, don’t try to make a DIY repair. This may not only cause more damage if done wrong but can also be the reason for more complicated claims. 

BUT! Damages due to leaking roofs can be an exception! If this is the type of claim you have, consider making temporary repairs. It is no brainer that leaking roofs can cause further problems if more things might get destroyed because of the leaking water.

The bottom line is, if doing nothing can cause more harm, then you should do some actions to lessen the damage. 

Hiring a professional adjuster

Your insurance company will send an adjuster from their company to assist you with your case. The adjuster will help you through the process so don’t hesitate to ask questions if there are things that are not clear enough.

However, some homeowners preferred a public adjuster to help them out during claims. Remember, that you as a homeowner have the right to choose whether you want your company’s adjuster or a public adjuster to help you out so just go for what you are comfortable at. 

During this process, bring all the information that you have that can help the adjuster calculate the damage such as receipts of the damaged items and other proof of purchase. These can help a lot and can make the claim process faster. 

What to do if you happen to know the cause of damage to your property?

  • Natural Disaster

If your claim is due to a natural disaster like a tornado, hail, or hurricane, you just need to report the claim right away without too much information.

  • Accident

If the damage is due to an accident like someone’s car bumped your front yard, then that is a different story. In cases like this, you need to be extra vigilant in gathering more and specific information before you file a claim or make a call.

  • List Things in Detail

Let’s say your neighbor’s car accidentally hit your property that caused damage to your yard. You must get the information of the driver such as the name, the insurance carrier, as well as the insurance policy number.

Make sure that you also note down the exact description of what happened including the time, date, and location.

  • Contact Your Agent

Once you already have all the necessary information, contact your insurance agent to help you with the situation. Although cases like this, the at-fault insurance provider must be the one to shoulder the damage.

Your insurance agent should only be the one to help you file a property damage claim. That being said, the auto insurance of the driver at-fault should cover the damage once proven guilty.

  • Unknown Suspect

If unfortunately that you don’t know who damaged your property like a vandalism claim, just do the right step-by-step process.

Gather all the information, take notes, and even photos before you file the claim, and make sure to report it within the given timeframe. 

Reliable Insurance Coverage

Accidents are truly inevitable, that is why having Home Insurance can be your best protection to ensure your investments. Being certain that you are properly insured will give you and your family the peace of mind that all families should have.

Our Team Is Your Advantage

If you want to know more, contact us today! Our team will be happy to help you further understand everything that you need to know about homeowners insurance in Denver, Colorado, or any of the other 44 States we cater to. We can also discuss all your options and discounts on Home and Auto Insurance. Call us now!