If you've been lucky enough to avoid a home insurance claim, you may not know what to expect when the unfortunate time comes. Each situation is different based on damage and policy language but we've compiled a few items to expect and be aware of after you file a homeowners insurance claim.
After you file a claim, or even before, you will want to find a reputable business to repair the damage to your home. Be careful when you choose a company. It is great to ask for referrals from neighbors and friends. There are many storm chasers who go door to door after storms who may not be licensed or insured. Some red flags may include a very low quote compared to other companies or a quicker than normal turnaround. It is important to do your research:
- Make sure you are dealing with a local and licensed company.
- Ask for and review the contract. Illinois requires a contract for work over $1,000.
- Confirm the contract states the start and end date as well as the payment schedule. You should never pay in full upfront.
Once your claim is turned into the insurance company, a claims adjustor will be assigned to investigate the claim. Be sure to write down the contact information of this individual.
What to do once a home claim is submitted:
- While you wait for the work to be done on your home, make sure you take any steps to prevent further damage, such as to keep weather or intruders out. Keep in mind, if there is a big storm in your area the wait time for work to be completed could be longer than normal.
- Keep documentation of everything such as photos, videos and inventory lists.
- If you need to move out of your home or office while repairs are done, your policy should cover reasonable living expenses. Be sure to ask your agent or claims adjuster about this.
You may receive a payment in the mail from your insurance company that may not seem like the full amount you are expecting. Many property insurance policies will include recoverable depreciation if they have replacement cost coverage. The easiest way to understand recoverable depreciation is that the insurance company provides two separate payments: one to begin repairs, and one when the insurance company has proof that repairs have been completed.
Once Repairs are Completed:
The policyholder should use the first check from the insurance company to perform the repairs. Once the work is complete, the insured should submit the contractor's final invoice to the insurance company for review. Please note that the repairs and replacement of the damaged property should be completed in a timely manner based on the policy language. Once the insurance company has proof that the property has been repaired, they will release up to the recoverable depreciation payment, if replacement cost coverage is available vs. actual cash value. The recoverable depreciation amount will vary depending on the final repair cost.
It is always recommended to review your insurance policies after a claim to make sure you are protected moving forward. Be mindful when turning in claims as your claim record will affect your premiums. It is always best to discuss claim situations with a licensed insurance agent. Troxell has an in-house claims team who will help walk our customers through the claims process and make sure each claim is handled fairly according to policy language.