Don't expect automatic maximum compensation from your home insurance company after a disaster. You must know how to navigate the claim process properly if you expect maximum compensation. Below are some tips to help you maximize your home damage claim.
Insurance doesn't cover gradual damage or wear and tear. For example, if a storm damages your house, your home insurance company won't compensate you for rot and corrosion that occurs months after the initial damage. Thus, if you delay your claim, the insurance company might argue that some of the losses are gradual and decline them.
Avoid further damage to your home after the initial disaster. Damage mitigation is a legal duty, and the insurance company expects it from you. For example, if a storm has damaged part of your roof, cover up the damaged section to avoid water damage. Your insurance company is likely to settle your entire claim if you can confirm damage mitigation.
Include All Damages
Include all damages related to the disaster in your claim. For example, a storm damage claim may include things like:
- Roof damage
- Siding damage
- Damage to the electrical system
- Damage to the house's contents
- Additional living expenses
The insurance company will only compensate you for the losses in your claim.
Review Your Policy
Home insurance coverage varies. Review your policy to understand your coverage better. Review the add-ons you have purchased too. Then include every loss that your policy covers.
For example, standard home insurance has relatively low limits for expensive belongings, such as jewelry. However, personal property endorsement may entitle you to full compensation for lost or damaged jewelry.
Keep All Records
Keep all records form the moment the disaster strikes. Here are some tips for record-keeping:
- Take pictures or videos of the damage
- Keep receipts of repairs or expenditures
- Get repair estimates from professionals
- Get an inspection report from a professional contractor
The insurance company will only compensate you for losses you can prove
Hire a Public Adjuster
Consider hiring a public adjuster if the damage is substantial. A public adjuster:
- Understands the insurance industry
- Works for you (and not the insurance company)
- Saves you time
- Takes a percentage of the claim payout
An experienced public adjuster can make you money despite their fee. The bigger the damage is, the more helpful can adjuster can be.
Hopefully, the above tips will help you secure maximum compensation from your insurance company. Don't forget that you can bring in a public adjuster at any stage of the claim process, but the earlier you do, the better.