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5 Steps to Preparing and Filing Your Homeowners Insurance Claim

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Video: Preparing and Filing Your Homeowners Insurance Claim

1.Give immediate notice to your insurance company of your home insurance claim. Call your agent of any damages you feel you will need to file a claim for. Your agent will give you information on what steps to take next for your particular policy. It is best to keep your insurance agent's phone number and policy number in your wallet so you will have the information if it is not accessible in your home. Also, keep track of all communication by you and your home insurance agent regarding your home owners insurance claim.

2.Document and assess the damage to your property. Try to document damage by using a video camera and/or digital camera along with written documentation of all damage you immediately notice and keep those documentation items handy for any future damage you discover.

3.Make any temporary repairs you can. You are responsible for preventing future damage, so try to make any immediate repairs you can such as putting a tarp over a leaky roof. Also make sure you save the receipts from the supplies you use so you can be reimbursed for these expenses (make sure the expenses are reasonable to avoid a denial in reimbursement).

4.Compile a list of items you suspect are damaged or missing. Go one room at a time and have the whole family there to help remember everything that was previously in the room. If you have replacement cost coverage on your personal property items, many of your items should be replaced new, even if their current value is below that cost (ex: a new couch will replace an old couch that may have been only worth a few dollars) so it is important to remember everything that was damaged. This step is much easier if previously an inventory list of items was already compiled and kept in a safe place away from the home.

5.Wait patiently. If your area has just been through a severe disaster, people with more severe damage will most likely be handled first. Keep in touch with your home insurance agent during your waiting period to get updates on how your home owners insurance claim is coming along. If you feel you are not being treated fairly or your claim is being handled inappropriately you can contact your state insurance commissioner to file a complaint. Don’t forget your loss of use coverage usually available in your home owners insurance policy, which will cover reasonable living expenses if you cannot live in your home during repairs or have been denied access by a government order.

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