How to File a Home Insurance Claim: Top 6 Steps

Nobody ever wants to have to make a home insurance claim. But if you ever need to, you’ll be glad you have coverage. Whether you’re dealing with water damage from a storm, an injury on your property or even burglary, homeowners insurance is there when you need it. 

According to a Consumer Reports study on home insurance claims, about 41 percent of people with claims over $30,000 encountered an issue. In fact, compared to other types of insurance, home insurance claims are the most likely to be rejected. Having an insufficient coverage level accounts for a large portion of these denials.

The prospect of actually filing a claim, though, can seem overwhelming. Make sure to follow these steps to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

Home Insurance Claim Steps

Call the Police If Necessary

If you were the victim of a crime such as personal property damage or theft, call the police. Having a police report number will be helpful when making your claim to the insurance company. In some cases, it’s required.

Call Your Insurance Company

It’s important to do this as soon as possible after the incident occurs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask about the following items:

  • Your level of insurance coverage
  • The amount of time you have to file a claim, and 
  • Whether the claim exceeds the deductible. 

If you do decide to file a claim, the insurance company will assign you an insurance agent to work your case and send you the claim forms. Fill these out promptly. Time is truly of the essence when it comes to insurance claims.

Document Everything You Can

Record information about the date and time of the incident, take photos and videos of the damage. If you’re able, even document information about stolen or damaged items’ purchase date and current value. 

This will help best position to have your claim approved or file an appeal if it is denied.

Arrange a Visit From an Insurance Adjuster

Insurance companies will send their own adjusters to your property to assess the damage, if necessary. Providing the adjuster with all your documentation will help build your case in your favor.

If you don’t agree with the company adjuster’s determination, you also can consider hiring a public adjuster.

Make Temporary Repairs

Structural damage or a leaking roof are issues that need to be fixed sooner rather than later. After documenting the original damage with photos and videos, you can take steps to mitigate further damage. Make sure to save all receipts of purchase you make, as you may be able to submit these to your insurance company for reimbursement of the cost of repairs.

Keep Asking Questions

Just like you asked questions in the beginning of the claim process, continue doing it all the way through. If, at any point, you feel unsure of what’s happening or what you should be doing, keep asking questions until you feel comfortable. Whether you ask your insurance company or call your state’s insurance department, you deserve to be in the know about every single step of the process.

What Can You Do in Case of Claim Denial?

After making your homeowners insurance payment year after year, you’d probably expect to be mostly or even fully reimbursed for the damage to your home. Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. You and your insurance company may have differing ideas on how much you are owed, depending on what your insurance covers. In some cases, your claim could be denied all together.

If that happens, first of all, you have to make sure you understand why your claim was denied. 

In many cases, proper documentation, as discussed above, will help decrease the risk of denials. Additionally, filing the claim within an appropriate time frame is of utmost importance. It can cause denials if this is not done. Your insurance company will send you a formal letter outlining the reason(s) that your claim was denied and reference supporting information from your home insurance policy.

Depending on this, you may want to file an appeal. In most states, you’ll undergo an appraisal process, which is outlined by most insurance companies in their policy agreements. Work with your insurance company through their internal claims appeal process, and continue documenting every conversation, email exchange, and receipt related to your claim and appeal.

If you still aren’t able to come to an agreement, you can reach out to your state’s insurance department.

Contact SelectQuote to Help Find Your Ideal Homeowners Insurance

It’s never a “convenient” time to file a homeowners insurance claim. It often comes along with a stressful life event – as you’re recovering from property damage, an injury or a crime. It’s easy to get caught up in the aftermath of the incident. Maybe you didn’t document as meticulously as you could have, or you didn’t file your claim in a short period of time. Your past experiences with home insurance claims and insurance companies may have been less-than-positive as you navigated this difficult situation.

At SelectQuote, we understand the importance of being properly covered. When you’re ready for a policy that meets your needs, we can help you find it. 

With your personal SelectQuote agent by your side, we shop around for multiple quotes from the most reputable carriers. You can be confident you’re getting the best policy for the best price.

Get your free home insurance quote. Remember, you can save by bundling home and auto. Or contact a SelectQuote insurance professional with questions.

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