No one wants to face a homeowner's insurance claim. It means that some level of damage has been done to your home, and you've decided that the amount of damage is so much that paying out of pocket isn't an option. In these circumstances, you usually have enough damage to open a claim, pay your deductible, and work with your insurance carrier to make both you and your home "whole" again. Easy enough, right? Well, it should be. These days, however, there is more misinformation out there that complicates the process and makes it difficult to make a decision.
FP Property Restoration has seen it all over the years. We've witnessed every level of damage from every disaster. Furthermore, we've worked with thousands of adjusters and have come into contact with just as many contractors. The tips we give are based on 10+ years of experience. These are the same tips we always use and even offer to our families and friends. With that being said, here are a few easy-to-follow tips if your home suffers from damage and you're faced with opening a homeowner's insurance claim.
First, know who your carrier is and what your policy is. Many people are not sure who their insurance carrier is. When you aren't sure of this, you might face a few challenges. When creating a claim, it's important to work with your carrier and clearly communicate the information that they need to start your claims process. If you're unorganized, you'll make things more difficult for your claims carrier and, ultimately, yourself.
Second, after you suffer damage, take photos right away! With today's mobile technology, you can easily take photos and videos that can be sent to your insurance carrier, who can then better determine the scope of the damage.
Third, call your carrier, not your agent. Often, homeowners confuse their insurance agent with who they purchased a policy from. The insurance carrier is the company that holds your policy and is responsible for adjusting the claim. Contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible to open your claim, which is identified by a number not to be confused with your policy number. Your claim number identifies the specific claim, while your policy number identifies your overall policy.
Fourth (and this is important!), do not sign any document saying, "Assignment of Benefits." This tip can save your home! Some dishonest contractors and companies will encourage you to sign contracts with "Assignment of Benefits" worded in the documents. When you sign something with this phrasing, you may be accidentally signing all of your claim rights over to this company. You lose all control of your claim.
Fifth, communicate, document, and work with your carrier. Dealing with claims takes time, but when you can communicate key events, keep photos, and take notes, it will be easier for your insurance carrier and adjuster to move your claim along and get your home back to the way you like it.
Finally, ask questions. The unasked questions are the ones that come back to haunt you. Most people are not familiar with navigating a homeowner's insurance claim, so asking questions is completely normal and highly encouraged. Don't be afraid to ask questions - just make sure to ask the right people: your insurance carrier and your insurance adjuster.
Not sure where to start? The pros at FP Property Restoration can help. Contact us today with questions about the homeowner's insurance claim process at (888) 408-2335.