Filing a claim can be done quickly and a payment made fast if you have the following to present to your insurer:
1. Your insurance policy. Having a copy of your insurance policy handy can expedite your order. This is important when your only proof of insurance is that document. Still, if you can reach your insurer by phone, your information can be quickly pulled up and verified.
2. A list of inventory. Following a total loss, you may find that your insurer is questioning the value of certain items or perhaps disputing ownership. You don’t have to list everything that you own, but it is a good idea to have digital proof of those items and have related pictures stored on your website or on an independent website such as Flickr or Facebook. If you have a CD copy, that can be useful too.
3. What is covered. Homeowners should always know what is covered with their insurance and what is not. Your standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage, so unless wind ripped off your roof and destroyed your home that way, rising flood waters may not be covered. Flood insurance is sold separately and only by the federal government.
4. Fix problems now. You can make filing a claim smoother if you handle pressing problems immediately. For instance, if your roof was blown away, contacting a roofing company to come by and secure a tarp over your exposed roof is critically important. You’re responsible for stabilizing your home until repairs can be made, but do not undertake permanent work until your adjuster sees your home.
5. Just document everything. The moment you have a claim, contact your insurance company and notify same. Get the name of the person who took your claim and obtain your claim number. Make the call even if you have evacuated the area and cannot verify the full extent of your damages. Keep receipts including for your hotel stays. Use a journal to track everything — you may be surprised how much information you will need to recall when in the presence of an insurance adjuster. Buy a journal with pen and receipts holders.
When you meet with your claim adjuster, go with him as he inspects your property. Point out damage, give him your receipts (keep copies for yourself) and share the appropriate notes. Your adjuster may write a check out on the spot, settling part or all of your claim immediately.
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