It is never a pleasant experience when you have to consider an insurance claim. You’re dealing with damage, loss and even the experience of being put out of your home. But deciding whether or not to file a claim can be a tricky endeavor. It is not always wise to file a claim when something happens to your home. How can you determine whether or not to report a claim? Let’s take a closer look at when to file a homeowners insurance claim so you’ll know before something happens.
When To File A Homeowners Insurance Claim – Overview
So what can you expect when you file a homeowners claim? Once you contact the insurance company and open a claim, you’ll work with an adjuster. They will inspect the damage and ask about your property before the damage was sustained. Feel free to add input on the cost of the damage as well as provide photos and records of your property before and after the damage was sustained. Once they’ve made their assessment, the insurance company will offer funds in accordance with your policy limits to cover your losses. Make sure to keep your own tally of costs, as you can dispute a payout if you think it isn’t appropriate.
Remember, part of the payout is based on current labor and material costs. Many homeowners may not be familiar with these rates, so do your research on costs in the area before considering a dispute. Generally you can expect a fair assessment of the damage. Next, a check will be issued to both you and your mortgage company. This is to protect the interests of your lender. The mortgage company will then pay you at different intervals to cover hiring a contractor, buying materials, etc. If you own your home outright, then the check will be cut directly to you. Either way, it is up to you to hire a qualified professional. Make sure you work with someone you can trust who will provide quality work.
No Brainer – Your Home Is Significantly Damaged
This is why you have homeowners insurance. If your home has sustained significant damage, say from hail, a storm, a fire, etc., now is the time to act and file a claim. Be thorough about how you record the damage. Take as many photos and videos as necessary. Jot down notes on what is damaged and what you think the value is. Then contact your insurance company and open a claim. Depending on demand in your area, an adjuster will be by to inspect the damage as soon as they can. Remember even if the claim is deemed a total loss, you won’t receive the full value of your property. The land itself is worth something, and even if you have to rebuild, you retain the value of that land.
No Brainer – The Damage Is Less Than Your Deductible
Generally speaking, you want to avoid a claim if at all possible. If you file a claim, your rates are sure to go up afterward. As you evaluate when to file a homeowners insurance claim, this should certainly be taken into account. Common homeowners deductibles range from $500 to $2000. If you have a deductible around $1000 and the damage to your home is around $1500, you’ll only get $500 of the repairs covered. A short term payout like this is certainly not worth it if you’ll also see a rise in insurance premiums. In cases like this, you’re best off biting the bullet and paying for the small damages yourself. This will save you long term with lower insurance premiums.
Tough Call – There Is Intermediate Damage
Now comes the tough part. As you evaluate when to file a homeowners insurance claim, there may come a time where the damage is intermediate. The claim will certainly be above your deductible, but the repairs might not be too financially taxing if you decide to handle them yourself. Ask questions like “When was the last time I filed a claim?” and “Can I handle this financially, or will this put me in a tough spot?” Multiple claims in a short period of time can really impact your insurance rates. But each family’s circumstances will be different. If you can’t handle the damage without insurance support, then you’ll likely need to file a claim. When in doubt, contact your insurance broker for advice.
Final Thoughts – When To File A Homeowners Insurance Claim
Sometimes it’s a no brainer and sometimes it is a tough call in assessing when to file a homeowners insurance claim. In practice, you should be conservative with your claims. Save them for when you really need them. But don’t be so conservative that an incident puts you in a tough financial spot. And if you’re worried about your rates rising after filing a necessary claim, contact us to learn about how you can keep your insurance rates low. It’s always a good idea to review your homeowners coverage each year to make sure you have the right policy for your needs. Square State Insurance is here to help. We can even compare different rates to your current policy to discover the best savings. Contact us today to get started.