What You Should Know
- Know what your policy covers before you start the home insurance claim process
- Your check may be made out to your mortgage company or the contractor
- Stay on top of the process to make sure you get your full payment
Your home is a big investment. You want to protect it and keep it in good shape. When your home suffers damage from a natural disaster or theft, you need to get things fixed right away. Usually, that means filing a claim with your homeowners insurance provider.
The home insurance claim process can seem overwhelming, but don't worry, we have got you covered. We've looked at all the homeowners insurance claim check questions you are likely to have, and we have the answers. Follow this guide to get your house back to safe working order.
Before the next incident damages your home, you will want to know you have the best rates on home insurance. Enter your ZIP code here for a free comparison of the best homeowners insurance rates in your area.
When should you file a home insurance claim?
When your home suffers damage or loss you will want to address it as soon as possible. Filing a claim with your homeowners insurance provider seems logical, but this is not always the best option.
What is covered by your homeowners insurance policy?
It's hard to move forward after an incident if you don't know the details of your coverage. To do that you need to learn how to read a homeowners declaration page. The homeowners declaration page is a summary of your insurance policy. It includes a breakdown of what is covered by your policy, so you will want to be familiar with this document.
What can you expect to see on the declarations page? According to Than Merrill, CEO of FortuneBuilders, "Homeowners insurance typically helps cover your dwelling, personal property, other structures on your property, and liability. However, you can also have the ability to purchase additional coverage for more protection. For example, damage caused by earthquakes and floods is not typically included in basic homeowners insurance policies but can be purchased separately at a cost if you live in a place where those natural disasters are more likely to occur."
Your provider will send you a new declaration each time you renew your policy, so you always have up-to-date information about your coverage. This document can be tricky to read, but it contains valuable information. You want to be armed with all the necessary details before you file a claim.
How bad is the damage to your home?
The first step after an incident is to determine if the damage warrants filing a claim. If a hail storm left you with a small broken window, or some tools were stolen from the garage, you will want to be compensated, but it may not be worth filing a claim.
Anytime you file a homeowners insurance claim you run the risk of seeing your premiums go up. Depending on your policy, this rate increase may be more than the cost of doing the repairs or replacing the stolen goods yourself. A good way to be sure is by reading the fine print on your insurance policy.
Once you've read the fine print and determined it is in your best interest to file a claim, get that process started as soon as possible. It can take a while to get your homeowners insurance claim check, so you want to get the ball rolling early.
How to File a Homeowners Insurance Claim
When it comes time to file a claim with your homeowners insurance provider, there are several steps to take. You will want to document everything and keep informed of each part of the process so you know you are getting the best service.
Document the Damage to Your Home
The first step in filing a claim is to document the damage from the incident. You will want pictures and descriptions of exactly what happened to your home. This information is vital in making certain you are properly reimbursed for lost property or repair work.
Next, you will need to contact your provider to let them know you need to file a claim. You can usually do this over the phone or online. Make sure you have the policy number and your personal details handy before you call.
Get Your Own Estimates Made
Next you will want to do some research to get an idea of the cost of the repairs, or replacement of lost items. For stolen or broken goods, you can investigate replacement costs online. When it comes to repair work, you will want to get a professional estimate of your own.
The insurance company is going to send a claims adjuster to make estimates of the cost of the damage. Having your own numbers established will give you a point of reference with which to judge those estimates.
It is also a good idea to have a contractor on site when the claims adjuster arrives. They will know if the adjuster is making an accurate assessment of the repair costs.
Once you agree on the estimates, you can begin repairs in earnest. Your provider will then process your claim check and your reimbursement will be on the way.
When it comes to settling your claim, not all providers are equal. As you can tell from this list of homeowners insurance claims ratings, it's important to know how your company stacks up. Beyond that, it helps to know how the home insurance claim check process works. You may have questions, so let's answer them.
How the Insurance Claim Check Process Works
While it may seem obvious that you will get the home insurance claim check made out to you, that is not always the case. There are a number of possibilities here, and each case is unique. You may find it useful to follow these tips to ensure your insurance claims get paid.
Who gets the claim check?
If you have a mortgage, your provider may issue the check in the mortgage company's name instead of yours. Check with your lender to see if they will release the money to you, or if you have to do the repair work first before getting reimbursed.
Sometimes your insurance company will pay the contractor directly. This ensures that the money is only used for making repairs, but it means you don't have control over how it is spent. Stay in contact with your insurance provider and your contractor so you know where the money is.
If you own a home that is part of a larger development, such as a condominium or co-op, the company that manages the property at large may receive the insurance claim check. Communicate with the residence owner in these situations to monitor your money.
If anyone else is named as insured on the policy for the home, the insurance claim check may be made in their name. Be sure you have open communication with everyone on your policy.
Will you get more than one check?
Often the funds for repairs on your home will be issued in several payments. It is important to stay in touch with your insurance company throughout this process. If you feel you have not received enough funds to cover your expenses, you will need to know if more money is forthcoming. Your insurance provider will have this information.
There are several ways your claim check funds may be distributed, and each instance is unique. You will need to communicate with your provider often to keep updated on how your payments are being handled. Ask lots of questions and follow up repeatedly so you can stay on top of the situation.
When will your claim check arrive?
The timeline for your claim is subject to a lot of variables. Depending on the complexity and severity of your damage or loss, it could take days or several weeks to get your check.
There may also be errors in the paperwork or delays in repair work that affect the release of funds. Once again, staying in touch and asking questions is your best approach.
Staying organized and knowing your coverage details will help your home insurance claim process go smoothly. One way to get started is by getting the best deal on home insurance premiums. If you are interested in a more affordable home insurance policy, enter your ZIP code to compare rates now.