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How to File a Home Insurance Claim

Home insurance claims are a fact of life. The whole reason you get coverage is to protect your assets. Getting the coverage is just one step. Do you understand what your policy covers and for how much? This might seem like a silly question but the fact is there are many homeowners who have a very rude awaking as to how much they are insured for. The first thing you should do if you don't understand your policy after reading it is having your insurance provider explain it to you. It's better to now where you stand before a disaster strikes. Ask away!

Some important questions to ask would be:

1. Are your belongings insured for replacement cost (the amount of money it would take for you to replace an item today), or actual cash value (the replacement cost minus depreciation)? This makes a huge difference when you are restocking lost items in your home.

2. Is your home insured for its replacement value? Some people cut corners in order to save some bucks and insure the home for half its replacement value or a fraction on the replacement value. When the time comes will you have enough money to rebuild if a catastrophe strikes?

3. What liability coverage’s are provided in your homeowner’s policy? This makes a difference when your child’s visiting friend little Mikey gets hurt at your home under your roof. Boys will be boys but that won't help you pay the hospital bills!

Do you know the answers to all of the asked questions? If not get to reading and asking these questions of your home insurance representative.

Now that you have covered your bases, you should feel a bit more secure that you are ready for that day when you have to file that claim. That day is now! What do you do now? The answer to that question depends on what type claim you are filing. First and foremost address any life threat to you and your family. If there's a fire in your house get out of there and call the fire department. If you've been burglarized call the police! Once the emergency has been addressed call you agent or Insurance Company right away. Have your policy number available if possible. The importance of calling right away is that insurance companies place a time limit on filing claims. Once they're done asking you questions, ask them anything you need to know.

Am I covered? Does my claim exceed my deductible? When will I receive my check? How long will the claims process take? Will I need to obtain estimates for repairs? Remember the only dumb question is the one not asked; make sure you understand everything.

The next few steps of the common senses kind; make any repairs and or take steps to protect your property from further damage. Save any receipts for what you spend; submit them to your insurer for reimbursement. Prepare a list of lost or damaged items. Save any documentation you have; if you have a home inventory catalog, use this to expedite your claim. Save receipts of any living expenses incurred during this time period if your home is so damaged that you can't live at your home. Provide any additional needed information to your insurance provider assigned to handle your claim. Finally if you are dissatisfied with any part of your settlement offer, talk to your representative. Make them clarify to you step by step how they came to the figure they are offering you.

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