How Do Home Insurance Claims Work?

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated February 20, 2020

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May 10, 2019

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

When it comes to your home, you do your best to protect it against floods, fire, and theft. However, despite your best efforts, your home has been flooded, been affected by a tornado or severe weather, touched by fire, or been broken into. In any of those cases, you need to know how home insurance claims work.

If it is a case of theft where your home has been vandalized or burglarized, the first step is to report it to the police and get a police report and all the officers involved in order to provide the information to your insurer. Phone your insurance provider immediately and properly fill out the claim forms.

After an event like this, you may also wish to look into home security. It’ll provide peace of mind once this incident is passed.

Once you have contacted your insurance company and have filled out the claim forms, your insurer will send out an adjuster. The adjuster is a representative of your insurance company and they will inspect for property damage to determine how much the company should pay for the loss. They may also interview you as well. Beware that there are some things homeowners insurance doesn’t cover, like appliances. The best home warranty companies can help you cover what insurance misses. Our HomeServe reviews, which looks at one of the top services, details how home warranty works and help you learn more about the services.

Depending on what the adjuster decides, you may get an advance towards the amount owed to you. This does not represent the total payment but is merely a precursor. There are times where the adjustor might offer you a settlement on the spot, depending on the circumstances of the homeowners insurance claim.

Sometimes other parties get involved in the process too. If you have a mortgage, the check might also be made out to both you and your mortgage lender. If you live in a condo or a co-op, that building’s financial entity might be named as a co-insured. This means that they will have to endorse the payment check before you can cash it.

If you discover more damage in the future that either you or the adjuster didn’t notice the first time, then the claim can be reopened. They may send the same adjustor out as they have experience with your claim. While you may want to just get on with your life, it would be wise to reopen the claim and add it to the damage incurred by the event.

If there is damage to both structure and personal belongings, you could get separate checks, one for each. You may also receive a check for additional living expenses if your home is rendered uninhabitable by the event which caused you to file a claim in the first and you can’t live in it while it is being repaired.


About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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