It’s happened...a hailstorm has battered your roof, a burglar has stolen your jewelry, or your house has been decimated by fire. Times like these can be devastating financially as well as emotionally devastating to your family. Here are 5 things you can do beforehand to make the claims process easier in the event of a homeowner’s claim.
1. Video your belongs and save it in more than one place. One thing your claims adjuster will ask for is a list of the things you’ve lost. It is much easier to hand him a flash drive at the time of loss than it is to try to remember everything you own. Be sure to keep the flash drive somewhere other than your house. A safe deposit box is great, if you have one, or give a copy of it to a family member. It is a good idea to have this stored in multiple places in case of computer crash or house fire.
2. Know what your coverages are before the time of loss. A quick call to your insurance agent will take care of this for you. It’s important to know this because the time of a theft is not the time to discover you don’t have coverage for that $12,000 diamond ring you purchased last year. Review your policy with your agent at least once a year.
3. Make sure you have replacement cost coverage on your contents on your homeowners policy. I can’t stress this enough. You don’t want to file a claim, only to discover you’re getting reimbursed for a 25 year old analog TV instead of the new state-of-the art one you bought last week.
4. Do your own due diligence. Make certain to maintain your property. Trim any limbs that overhang onto your roof. Put handrails on your front porch steps. Repair your roof if it’s 30 years old and the shingles are falling off. Insurance companies can deny claims if it can be proven that the insured was negligent in property maintenance.
5. Lastly, get to know your insurance agent. They are your friend. They will go to bat for you if there is a problem. They can advise you on how to handle a claim. Taking the time to get to know your agent can be invaluable in a claim situation. If they know you personally, they can vouch for your character, if there is ever a question about the validity of a claim.
These are just a few important things to know to help the claim process move along more smoothly. As you can see, doing just a few simple things BEFORE a claim occurs is essential to having peace of mind, so that if you do have to file a claim, you can rest assured that you’ve done your best to help the process along.