When you have a homeowners insurance claim, your actions can make all the difference. Long & Foster Insurance, a leading independent insurance agency that represents many of the nation’s top rated insurance companies, offers these suggestions for how to maneuver through the claims process with ease.
- If you were away from your home when the incident occurred, exercise caution when entering your property. If your home has sustained major damage, contact your local government officials to determine how you should proceed.
- Report downed power lines to the utility company, and keep your electricity off if there is standing water in your home.
- If it appears as though it is not safe to be at your home, leave.
- Contact your insurance company immediately to report how, when and where the damage occurred. Make a note of the claim handler’s name, telephone number and identification number when you call.
- Protect your home from further damage without putting yourself in danger. This may include boarding up windows and salvaging your possessions that did not sustain much damage—your claim handler can advise you on how to do so safely.
- Prepare a list of damaged or lost items from your home.
- Keep damaged items in your home until the claim handler has come for an inspection. Also, consider photographing or videotaping the damage.
- Provide receipts for damaged items if you saved them.
- If you need to temporarily relocate, save all your receipts for additional expenses. Your policy may cover you for additional living expenses during this time.
- Once you’ve reported your claim, the claim handler will send you some documents to complete within a specific period of time. Contact your insurance company if you have any questions, and return these forms promptly.
- Contact your mortgage lender to notify them of your loss and to discuss potential contractor bids. Your lender may want to inspect a contractor’s job before making a final payment.
Having a home inventory on hand helps speed along the process. Not sure how to create one? You can create a digital home inventory by downloading our Excel spreadsheet here. You can also make a handwritten home inventory by downloading and printing off a PDF version here.