Tips to increase odds of a successful homeowner’s insurance claim

Insurance policies are supposed to offer a safety net in the event of a damaging event, but sometimes insurance companies try to get out of their obligations. These tips can help.

Homeowner's insurance is designed to help offer a safety net if something goes wrong with a person's property. In the event of damage to property, the policy is designed to provide funds to help cover the cost of repair. However, it is important to keep in mind that the homeowner and insurance company are at odds when a claim is made. It is generally in the insurance company's best interest to avoid payout or pay as little as possible while it is in the homeowner's interest to receive the maximum amount available. As a result, actually receiving a reasonable payout under a home owner's insurance policy can be difficult.

When attempting to file for a claim, these tips may help increase your chances of success:

  • Educate yourself. It is important to have a basic understanding of what your insurance policy covers. It is not wise to depend on an insurance claim adjuster to relay this information, as this person is likely biased.
  • Prepare. A recent article in the reputable source Consumer Reports touched on this issue and recommended that homeowner's do a little preparation prior to suffering damage. The biggest takeaway was to find a good agent and ask questions before the loss. These steps can help ensure that you are both on the same page about the house value and "minimum" coverage. Also discuss any exclusions and take steps to fill in the gaps with other policies.
  • Inventory your property. Having an accounting of the home's value and a listing and valuation of the more expensive items within the home can help when filing a claim. If possible, take pictures. It is also a good idea to take photos of receipts for the items, if available.
  • Document damage. Take photos of the damage before making any repairs. Also keep any of the more valuable damaged items like furniture or artwork until the adjuster can examine them.
  • Negotiate. If the insurance company agrees to a payout and the amount offered seems too low, negotiate.

Unfortunately, insurance companies may wrongly deny a claim or offer too low of a payout even when homeowners follow these steps.

Tips for when a property insurance claim is denied

In the event of a denial or an offer that is too low, it can be wise to hire an independent appraiser or insurance adjuster to provide an estimate on the damage done to your property. It is often wise for those who receive a denial to seek the expertise of a legal professional. An experienced property insurance lawyer can review your case and help fight to make sure insurance companies fulfill their obligations.

Keywords: insurance law