The Filing Process
Many insurance companies have a time requirement for filing a claim. It is important to file your claim within this time frame. The process can be expedited if you can locate a copy of your policy and home inventory. The first thing to do is to call the company or visit a mobile claims center to begin your claim. In a situation where you cannot find the company or agent’s number, call your state insurance department and ask for it. The NAIC can connect you to your state department by calling this number 1-866-470-6242 or by going to the website at http://map.naic.org.
When prompted, you will be asked to list all items that have been destroyed, damaged or missing from the result of the disaster. If you do not have a home inventory, you should begin making a list of items by going from room to room from your memory. While doing this, include as much detail as possible, like where and when the item was purchased, the cost, brand name and model if possible. If your car is damaged while parked in the garage, it is covered by your automobile policy and not your homeowners insurance policy. In the event that you are insured by two separate companies for these coverages you must file a separate claim with each company
Some people often take advantage of the chaos that follows a disaster. When choosing a contractor to make repairs for your damaged properties, check licensing and references before hiring. Always insist on a written estimate before repairs begin and never sign any contracts before the adjuster examines the damage. In some cases the adjuster will request to see the estimate before you begin making any repairs.
Most Flood and earthquake damages are not covered in a typical homeowners or renter’s policy. So if you have a separate flood or earthquake policy, contact the company that wrote the additional policy to be able to file your claim. If your insurance company is delaying in responding to your claim, call the claims department to find out if an adjuster has already been assigned. If yes, verify your contact details for easy access, especially if you have evacuated your home. However if the delay is unreasonable call your state’s insurance department.
Even after the settlement of your claim, if you think of items that were not in your initial loss list, contact your insurance company and request to be paid for those additional loses. Unless the company has paid the entire limit set for the coverage of those types of items, it is still possible the company will be able to make an additional payment.
- If you’re incurred damages exceed the amount of your coverage, federal agencies may occasionally provide grants or low-interest loans to assist with such recovery following major disasters. Be sure to check with your local disaster center or state insurance department for more information.