Home Insurance Claims Filing Process

What to do as soon as you know you need to file a homeowner’s insurance claim?

Filing a home insurance claim is an important part of protecting your property and possessions in case of damage or loss. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to file a claim.

independent insurance adjuster to inspect damage from a house fire

Step 1: find your proof of ownership. This can be the paperwork from the sale, mortgage information and payments, utility payments, etc. You will also want to find a copy of your homeowner’s insurance policy. Once you’ve found those items, check your policy for the following items:
Your deductible

Make sure the event you want to file a claim for and the damage(s) are included in coverage. Then do a quick internet search for average cost of repairing the damage to your home.

It’s also important to note that filing a claim does not mean you will necessarily receive payment. Many insurance companies won’t even consider paying until after an accredited insurance adjuster performs an inspection.

Step 2: take photos of the damage as you found it. A smart phone or digital camera works best. If you happen to have receipts for the items, include that information as well.

Step 3: contact your insurance company as soon as possible. You may receive a letter asking you to complete a form called “Proof of Loss.” Your insurance company may also be able to take this information over the phone.

Step 4: Usually the next step is to have someone out to assess the damages. This is where an accredited claims insurance adjuster inspects the damage. Scheduling and completing the inspection typically takes between a few days and several weeks. An additional part of the insurance adjuster’s assessment includes recommendations and research on the cost to repair the damage and/or replace the items.

Step 5: Next, the adjuster will make a recommendation as to how much money you should receive. If you accept the offer, the adjuster will then prepare a check for the full amount. Finally, once the check is ready, you must sign off on it.

house in flood water

There is often a lot of waiting in between these steps. Make sure you are available when your insurance company calls as they may have questions you need to answer quickly. You will usually hear back within 30 days. If you haven’t heard anything by then, call your insurer and ask about where they are on your claim. Answering questions and providing updates will help move your claim through the insurance process faster, so try to stay in contact with the accredited claims adjuster assigned by your insurance company. In some cases, they may need additional documentation before they can complete the process and issue you a check (minus your deductible).

Also, some insurance companies base the estimate of damage on the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of damage to your building property for the date the loss occurred. Another way to think of this is to remember that ACV is the value of the damaged part of the property at the time of loss.

Your building estimate should include a summary by line item and by contractor at the end, if it does not, you should call your insurance agent and ask for it to be presented this way. Then you can use it as a punch list for the contractor you work with.

Want to help others recover from unexpected events?

You may want to consider a career as an accredited claims adjuster. In Florida, once you earn your 6-20 accredited claims adjuster (ACA) designation, you can apply to the state for your all lines adjuster license. This will enable you to work on home insurance claims, auto and RV insurance claims and property insurance claims. You would have the flexibility to work as a staff claims adjuster or an independent insurance adjuster.

For more information on how to earn your 6-20 ACA designation, we invite you to call our Clermont, Florida office at 1-800-309-2459 or read more about the accredited claims adjuster certification process on our website.

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