Guide to Making a Home Insurance Claim

Do you have home insurance and is the time to make use of it? Don’t stress, we’ve created this guide to give you some tips to help you take the right steps to avoid wasting time and delays. We will help you remember important information and we will give you some other scopes that you should consider when contacting your insurance company. Finally, we will explain the details of the claim process so that you have the peace of mind of going to your insurance company and solving those disasters under coverage in the best way.

# 1 Have Relevant Information at Hand:

Depending on the severity of the event and the time of action you have, it is good to have a list with the details of the catastrophe that occurred. Write down what the losses were, what part of your property was affected and in what way. This will give you fluency when explaining everything over the phone to the insurance company representative and will help you not to forget details when you receive the appraiser. If possible, take some photos that show what happened at the time. 

Each insurance company has a special telephone number where you can contact an agent who will be in charge of taking the initial information. 

Before contacting your insurance company, we want to remind you of a term that takes many by surprise: 

The Deductible: 

The deductible is a first payment that the holder must amortize with money from his pocket to activate the coverage of the policy. The payment of the deductible is different from the monthly payments that are amortized by the insurance premium, because depending on the magnitude of the catastrophe, this is the portion of money that the holder must pay for any loss under coverage. 

Sometimes, insurance companies ask for a specific amount of money for the deductible and other times, it is a percentage of the total amount of insurance purchased. The detail is that the higher the deductible you decide to pay when buying your policy, the lower the amount of your insurance premium will be.

# 2 Receive the Appraiser

An important part of the claim process is the visit of an appraiser, who is also known as an “adjuster”. This person is in charge of going to your home and inspecting the damage that has occurred. 

After his investigation, the appraiser will decide the amount of money that the insurance company will allocate for the payment of the reconstruction or recovery of the losses due to the loss.

Typically, the appraiser writes separate checks to cover the damage to each affected portion of your home. For example, if there was a small fire that affected the structure of your home and some personal objects or artifacts, you may receive a check for the reconstruction of the affected structure and another to replace or fix the artifacts that were also damaged and enjoy coverage.  

In many cases the appraiser offers a check at the end of his inspection while visiting your home, and it is recommended to accept this check to begin the necessary repairs. This first check is generally an advance of the full amount to cover expenses. If you later discover that it is not enough and there are still repairs to be made, the insurance company will give you a reasonable time frame to reopen the claim and settle the missing arrangements.

# 3 Claims on mortgaged homes

If you have a mortgage on your home, the bank that has made the loan will also look after the interests of the property that is still considered your investment. This is to guarantee that the repairs are done in the best way, that is why the bank asks to be named beneficiary together with the policy holder, before any claim presented on said property.    

Generally, the insurance company will work directly with the bank that has the mortgage and will deposit the money used to pay the claim in an escrow account or trust. These funds will be released progressively when the contractor’s budget is submitted. It is normal for the bank to appoint a representative who will visit the home to inspect the progress of the necessary repairs. This representative will give the go-ahead to continue releasing the funds until the end of the repairs.

On the other hand, it is good to know that you will not receive the checks by hand, but that the contractor will ask you to sign a document known as a “Payment Directive” in order to receive the funds from the insurer. This document will be attached to the invoices that the contractor will send to the company as part of the fund release process. Before signing this document, it is very important that you are happy with the results of the contractor’s work, that is, that the works are according to plan.  

# 4 How do claims affect my policy?

Generally, there is no limit to the number of claims you can make within a year; however, depending on the size or severity of these claims, your policy premium may change when it is time to renew it. This means that due to claims or losses that have occurred, the price of your renewed policy may be higher than the price of the policy originally purchased. But rest assured that you do not have the obligation to renew your insurance policy with the same company. You have the freedom to search for quotes with other insurance companies and it is also very possible that you will find better prices for the same coverage or even better coverage. 

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