How to Handle a Property Damage Claim

Ensure prompt notification to your homeowner's insurance provider

Promptly reporting any property damage claim to your homeowner's insurance company is a crucial requirement outlined in your insurance policy contract. Failure to adhere to the specified time limit within the contract may potentially result in claim denial. It is essential to note that even if you are required to evacuate your property, contacting your insurance company as soon as possible remains imperative. Depending on your insurer, you can accomplish this either through a phone call or by utilizing their online channels.

Once you have notified your insurance company, the claims process will commence. This process is extensive and meticulous, demanding careful attention to detail as well as ample time and preparation on your part. The claims process entails several stages, including initial communication with the insurance company, evaluation of your claim, negotiations, and ultimately reaching a resolution or settlement. During the initial phase of this process, you will need to provide the following information:

While there are numerous actions you should take to substantiate your claim and achieve a fair settlement, there are also certain actions you should avoid:

Secure your property and premises to prevent further damage 

It is your contractual responsibility as the policyholder to take measures to mitigate additional damages to your property and prevent any potential injuries to third parties on the premises. Safeguarding your home and the surrounding area is crucial. 

Consider seeking professional assistance throughout the process

After filing a property damage claim, your insurance company will assign an adjuster from their team to oversee your case. One common mistake made by policyholders, is assuming that the insurance company's adjuster has their best interests at heart.

However, it is important to note that the adjuster is primarily focused on protecting the insurance company's interests. As a policyholder, you have the right to engage your own team of professionals, such as a public adjuster, who can provide valuable assistance throughout the claims process. 

Homeowner's property damage claims are often complex, time-consuming, and difficult to substantiate if you are not familiar with the intricacies of insurance policies, industry jargon, and procedures.

Do not:

Begin repairing any damage without prior approval from your insurance company.

Before making any changes or repairs to your home, it is essential to discuss and agree upon them with your insurance company. It is important to document all discussions and agreements rather than relying solely on verbal communication.

Discard any items related to the claim.

This includes receipts, damaged items, and personal belongings. These items serve as crucial evidence for supporting your claim with the insurance company. Therefore, refrain from disposing of them until they have been appropriately documented.

Assume that you must use the vendors recommended by your insurance company.

Whether it pertains to the adjuster, assigned by the insurance company, or the contracting company they suggest, you have the right to hire your own experts, such as contractors, public adjusters, engineers, etc. In most cases, it is in your best interest to exercise this right and seek independent professionals who can provide you with the support and expertise you need.