Home Insurance For Every Homeowner: Experts Explain Insurance Claims

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Key takeaways:

  • Home insurance usually covers your home in the event of damage or theft; coverage for flood damage will require separate policies
  • There are three levels of coverage: actual cash value, replacement cost, and guaranteed or extended replacement value.
  • Document the damage if your home has suffered flood damage and file your claim immediately.
  • Remember to communicate with your claims adjuster and find a contractor that you can trust.

Floods can cause extensive damage to a house. If a flood has damaged your home, you must know what to expect when making a claim.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the process of filing a home insurance claim and what you can expect from your insurer. We’ll also talk about the role of the licensed insurance adjuster in the claims process.

What Is a Home Insurance Claim?

Also known as homeowners insurance, this type of property insurance covers your home and belongings in the event of damage or theft.

An insurance claim involves filing a request with your insurance company to receive reimbursement for covered damages.

Most insurance policies cover the following types of events:

  • Fire
  • Windstorm
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Smoke damage
  • Vandalism
  • Theft

As you can see, damage caused by floods or earthquakes is not typically covered by home insurance. Therefore, it’s essential for homeowners in flood-prone areas to purchase separate flood insurance policies.

Are There Different Types of Coverage?

Indeed, there are! You can customize homeowners’ insurance policies to fit the specific needs of the home and the home’s occupants. Let’s walk through the three primary levels of coverage you can expect from your insurance.

No. 1: Actual Cash Value

This level covers the cost of your property and any belongings inside the home minus depreciation. So, if a covered event destroys your home, you would receive enough money to cover the rebuilding cost at the current market value minus any depreciation that has occurred since you purchased the home.

No. 2: Replacement Cost

Don’t you like the depreciation aspect of ACV? You can purchase an insurance plan to cover the total cost to repair or replace your home and belongings, regardless of depreciation.

Of course, there is a limit to how much your insurance company will pay. Most policies have a maximum payout limit in a percentage of your purchased coverage.

No. 3: Guaranteed or Extended Replacement Value

Water levels aren’t the only rising concerns; inflation rates are too. This level of insurance covers the cost to rebuild your home at today’s prices, regardless of when the loss occurred. So, if your home has suffered damage from a covered event and construction costs have increased since you purchased your home, you would still be covered.

This is often called “extended replacement value” and typically grants about 20% more than a standard homeowners insurance policy.

Now that we’ve explored the various levels of coverage that an insurance policy can provide, let’s get down to how you can file a claim.

Step 1: File Immediately

You must file your claim after the damage to your home has occurred. Filing your home insurance claim right away will help ensure that the claims process goes smoothly and that you can get repairs done as soon as possible.

This point is especially crucial where whole neighborhoods have been affected by the floods, and insurance companies are overwhelmed with the number of claims. The sooner you take to action, the better.

Once you’ve filed a claim, the company will send a licensed insurance adjuster to assess the damage to your home.

Step 2: Gather Info

You’re essentially a first-hand witness to the damage to your home, so you’ll be the best source of information for the adjuster.

Make a comprehensive list of all items damaged in and around your home. Be as specific as possible when you’re making this list. Include all structural damage, like broken windows, flooded rooms, and any cracks or holes in the walls.

If possible, take photographs or videos of the damage as well. This will help support your claim.

The insurance company will also need info on any personal belongings damaged or lost in the flood. Again, be as specific as possible when making this list. Include information like the name and model of each item, when you bought it, and how much it was worth.

If you have receipts or other documentation, be sure to include them.

Step 3: Make Temp Repairs

Sitting idle on minor stopgap repairs is not an ideal insurance claims strategy. If the company suspects you’re purposely holding back on making repairs, it could jeopardize your claim.

So, if you have any immediate home repairs that need to be made, do them. Just keep all receipts related to the repairs, as you’ll need to submit them to the insurance company.

If you’re not sure whether a repair is temporary or not, ask your licensed insurance adjuster.

Step 4: Communicate

Your adjuster isn’t a punching bag or stand-in for “kill the messenger” — they’re your insurance claims advocate. The more you communicate with them, the more likely you’ll be on the same page about what needs to happen and when.

This will help ensure a timely claims payout so you can begin repairs sooner rather than later.

Your insurance company will also have a claims specialist you can talk to.

This person usually differs from your licensed insurance adjuster and will likely have more in-depth knowledge about insurance coverage.

Step 5: Get a Contractor

Believe it or not, you don’t have to rely on a company-provided claims adjuster or claims specialist.

You can also hire your favored claims expert, such as a licensed public adjuster or a home restoration contractor. Doing so may help you get a higher home insurance payout since these experts know how to document damage properly and calculate repair costs.

Just be sure to check with your home company first to see if they have any stipulations about working with outside claims experts. Forbes Advisor offers excellent guidance if you’d like to know more about mistakes to avoid when filing a claim.

Palmer Construction is the answer if you’re looking for experience and expertise in your contractor. If you need help finding a potential roofing contractor, read our article on how to avoid roofing scams.

We are a family-owned business serving Mead, WA, and are tried and true insurance specialists. We’ve helped homeowners with their insurance claims for several years and will be happy to help in your time of need.

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