How Long Does a Home Insurance Claim Take, and Other Important Questions
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UPDATED: Aug 13, 2020
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How long a home insurance claim takes to process can depend on your actions, so it is important to know what you are doing before you contact the insurance company. You can greatly reduce how long your home insurance claim will take to process if you are knowledgeable and prepared. Follow some important tips and make your homeowners insurance claim go smoother.
What to Do After You File a Home Insurance Claim
You can make your home insurance claim smoother and take less time to process by following some of these steps:
- Stay in contact with your insurance claims adjuster. Don’t sit back and wait for your home insurance settlement. Claims adjusters generally have hundreds, even thousands of claims to handle. Staying in contact with your adjuster will let him or her know that you are on top of things.
- Ask if any forms can be emailed to you. This will cut down on delays due to mail time and prevent items from getting lost in the mail. If you have to move to a temporary residence due to the home’s condition, email is a sure way of getting what you need and staying in contact during the home insurance claim process.
- Get a note book and keep good notes. Write in your notebook the times and dates when you talk with the adjuster or any insurance representative. Take notes on your conversation. These notes may prove to be invaluable if you have to hire an attorney during your home insurance claim process.
- Starting pulling together your receipts now. You will have to ask for copies of receipts. Start gathering those immediately. Start making copies. Be proactive and reduce the amount of time your home insurance claim takes to process.
- Get replacement cost estimates and repair estimates. Call contractors and line up estimates. Especially if there has been wide spread damage in your area. It may take contractors weeks to set up an appointment. Once you get an estimate, make sure you give it to your insurance company as soon as possible. This will ensure that the home insurance claim process continues to move smoothly.
- Make necessary repairs and document with photos. The homeowner’s insurance policy states that you should prevent any future damage that could create a bigger claim. Not only could a bigger claim slow you home insurance claim process, but the additional damage you didn’t prevent could get denied. Make all temporary repairs as are necessary to protect your property from further loss or damage. In the event of a total loss during a natural disaster, it could take the insurance company a while before getting to you due to the volume of damage they are handling. If you must embark on any cleaning due to city regulations or the like, notify your insurance company immediately.
- Make sure you take good photos to document the damage. You need to clearly document what the damage looked like before you make any temporary repairs. Email the pictures if necessary and get the insurance’s okay in writing to proceed with any clean up. Making any permanent repairs should only be done with the insurance company’s written approval. Again, document the damage with photos.
- Demand better service. If you can’t get you home insurance claim settled with the adjuster, ask to speak with their supervisor for better service. Make sure you keep your cool; it accomplishes nothing to yell and scream at the adjuster. Although it is hard to keep your cool when there is a gaping hole in your roof and you and your family are living out of a hotel, try to show professionalism at all times. Keep in mind that insurance adjusters sometimes handle hundreds of claims at a time. If you feel that you are not getting the service you deserve, ask that your claim be handled by another adjuster. This could put you in contact with someone who has a little more sensitivity to your situation.
How Long Does a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim Take?
Generally, there is not a stead fast rule as to how long your homeowners insurance claim will take because it depends on the amount of damage, the extensive nature of the repairs, whether you are in a natural disaster situation with thousands of other claims or if you are just dealing with the wind blowing off a few shingles. If you are following the above tips and you find that your home insurance claim is being delayed, your insurance company may be violating the law. In most states, there are fair claim practice laws that require a fair and reasonable handling of your insurance claim.
If you feel that your claim is dragging on and you are getting the run around, you may need to involve a skilled and expert attorney to help. An attorney would know the law in your state and would also understand the coverage language of the homeowners’ policy. Consultations are free, and an attorney can help you get the payout you deserve without delay. Click here to get a free case review by an experienced attorney.