Are you wondering if filing an insurance claim is worth it? Read on to find out!Are you considering filing an insurance claim for damage to your home or car? It might seem like a good idea at first, but there are many factors that could prevent you from getting reimbursed. Here are some things to consider before filing a claim.
Before filing a claim.Check your policy and determine if the loss is covered. You may need to check your auto policy or your homeowner’s policy. In addition to the overall policy coverages, pay special attention to any exclusions. This is where you will know for sure if the water damage caused by the leaking sink pipe or the lightning strike is covered by your homeowner’s policy or if the accident with the neighbor’s mailbox is covered by your auto policy.
Once you know if the incident is covered.Review your deductible. This is the amount you will either have to pay out of pocket or it may be taken out of the repair reimbursement. Again, the specific details are listed in your policy. If you aren’t sure, you can ask your insurance agent.
Do some initial research.If you’ve had a contractor or repair person evaluate the damage and provide a rough estimate of the repairs, great! If not, you may want to conduct a quick google search to determine what the repairs could cost. For example, many homeowner policies cover the secondary damage but not the initial repair. So, if a pipe leak caused water to come through the ceiling, your policy might cover the floor and ceiling damage, but not the repairs to fix the pipe leak. Of note, some policies include the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of damage to your home or automobile for the date the loss occurred. This means, your insurance company will reimburse you for the value of the damaged part of your home or automobile at the time of loss and could be subject to depreciation.
Run the numbers.This is where the math comes in. You’ll want to subtract your deductible from the repair estimate.
Here’s an example using the pipe leak scenario:
Repair/Replacement Cost: $6,000 Less Deductible ($2,500.00) Net Payment $3,500.00 In this scenario, it is most likely worth it to file a claim.
Here’s another pipe leak example with minor damage:
Repair/Replacement cost: $1,200 Less Deductible ($2,500.00) Net payment: ($1,300) In this scenario, it is not worth it to file the claim because the repair or replacement cost is less than your deductible.
Of note, be mindful when calling in a claim. If you file a claim and decide not to pursue it, it still could affect your renewal rates.
File a claim.
On our website we have details on how to file your claim through your insurance carrier’s portal or by submitting a written insurance claim letter.
Work with your accredited claims adjuster (ACA). Once you’ve filed your claim, write down your claim number. This will be important to you throughout the process and your ACA will reference this number in any communication with you and you too should reference this number in any communication with your accredited claims adjuster. In most cases, a staff claims adjuster or an independent insurance adjuster will review your coverage and help you continue the claim process.
Step by step.
If you decide to file a claim, make sure you follow these steps:
1) Make sure you have proof of loss – take photos from multiple angles.
2) Keep copies of everything – from estimates to additional details, start a digital and paper folder.
3) Be prepared to wait – this is not a fast process, and it will take time. As long as you’ve taken care of what initially caused the damage and are not adding additional damage, waiting is not a bad thing.
4) Don’t forget to keep track of how much money you spent or estimates for repair – some policies will want you to get an estimate before they will cover the damage, others will send out an accredited claims adjuster to conduct an assessment and complete an estimate.
5) Follow up – keep in touch with your accredited claims adjuster and be prepared to answer questions.
6) Get help – If you have questions or something isn’t clear, ask your ACA! They are there to help you and answer questions.
7) Know what to do when you receive payment – some policies will only mail paper checks which can take seven to 10 business days to arrive. Other companies will provide payment via direct deposit, which may take two to four business days.
8) Remember to keep records of the repairs.
Want to help others through the insurance claims process? You may want to consider a career as an accredited claims adjuster. In Florida, once you earn your 6-20 accredited claims adjuster 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.