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Home insurance claims. Insurance claims home.

Home insurance claims

If an unfortunate incident occurs at home, you might need to file a home insurance claim with your insurance provider.

For example, an unexpected weather event causes structural damage to your house, a burglar steals your possessions, or an unfortunate accident injures a visitor.

A home insurance claim against your homeowner policy comes with rules and procedures that you and your insurance provider must follow.

While all insurance providers handle claims differently, we will cover the standard steps of the process.

Table of contents

  • Homeowners insurance claims
  • Property damage insurance claims process
  • How long do home insurance claims take?

Homeowners insurance claims

Home insurance claims typically cover several scenarios related to your property, which include:

  • Visitor injuries and protection from liability
  • Damage to personal property and loss of personal property
  • Structural damages to your property (caused by vandalism, theft, or weather events)
  • Additional living expenses (ALE) if you need temporary accommodation due to your home becoming uninhabitable.

Property damage insurance claims process

Before you begin the claims process and if your home has suffered damage, be careful before you reenter your home.

If your home has suffered significant damage, do not enter until emergency personnel or local officials say it’s safe.

Before starting the claims process, read your home insurance policy to understand your responsibilities.

Regarding a claims process, here are the standard steps you must follow.

  1. Contact the police to report crimes
  2. Immediately contact your insurance provider
  3. Complete and submit claim forms promptly
  4. Gather proof of the damages
  5. Compile a list of loss and damage
  6. Meet with the insurance adjuster
  7. Ask the right questions

Insurance claims home

Follow these steps to file a home insurance claim. 

Contact the police to report crimes

If criminals vandalize your home or you are the victim of a theft, report it to the police immediately.

Ensure you get a police report and record the names of those involved in the claim. You must provide the police report and the incident details to your insurance provider.

Immediately contact your insurance provider

You should also immediately contact your insurance provider and use this time to ask questions. Ask your insurer if your incident is covered and how long you have to file a claim.

You could also gauge how long the claim process will take at this point, but your insurer may require an adjuster to assess the damage first before giving you an estimated timeframe.

Complete and submit claim forms promptly

Your insurance company will send you the necessary forms you must fill out if you are going ahead with making a claim.

These forms must be sent to you within a specific period, so you should also ensure you return them as soon as possible to avoid delays.

Gather proof of the damages

You should take photos and video recordings of the damage. Also, take precautionary steps to protect your home from further damage (such as temporary repairs) if possible.

For example, mitigate further damage to your home, such as using tarps to cover holes in your walls. However, avoid cleaning up too much mess or throwing away damaged items until the insurance adjuster has inspected the damage.

Also, save receipts for the temporary repairs and relevant spending you make, as your insurance company may reimburse these costs later.

Additionally, keep your receipts for the payment of temporary accommodation if you need to relocate and keep records of all expenses incurred.

Most home insurance policies cover additional living expenses (ALE) in such cases, but you must provide proof of the costs.

Compile a list of loss and damage

You should compile a list of damaged or destroyed items, then copy the list for the insurance adjuster.

You will also provide copies of receipts for the adjuster from step 4. Having a home inventory already in place can speed up this part of the home insurance claims process.

Meet with the insurance adjuster

Depending on the damages, your insurers may need to arrange for an adjuster to inspect your home. The adjuster inspects property damage and interviews you to determine how much the insurance provider should pay for the loss.

Be prepared to show any structural damage to the adjuster and have a list of damaged items ready so you can make the best use of the time.

Ask the right questions

If you have any questions about your claim, call your insurance provider.

Once you and your insurance company have completed the above steps and agree on the terms of your settlement, you will receive the agreed amount of money.

How long do home insurance claims take?

Every insurance claim is different, and so is the time it takes to process each claim. It also takes a team to handle the claims process, so the timing depends on several parties.

While there is no one-size-fits-all estimation of how long an insurance claim takes to settle, a standard process is involved.

Generally, complicated claims take longer to process. For example, extensive structural damage to a house will take longer to assess, and the claim will take longer to finalize.

Not only are the insurance company and loss adjuster involved, but surveyors, builders, or removal companies might also need to assess the damage, which will draw out the process.

Straightforward claims can take as little as a few days to settle. In general, how long an insurance claim process takes depends on the details of the claim.

A home insurance claim could take several months or years to resolve. The timing of the claim settlement involves the following determining factors.

  • Local laws
  • Property size
  • The insurance company
  • When you filed the claim
  • How many parties are involved
  • The type of damage incurred
  • The severity of the damage
  • The availability of the contractors and businesses involved

Bottom line

A home insurance claim involves procedures that you and your insurance provider must follow.

Timeframes of home insurance claims vary due to every loss and insurer’s differences.

An insurance adjuster’s damage inspection will help determine the duration of the claim settlement process.

Once the decision is final and if your policy covers the damage, you can expect to receive a check based on an estimate within the specified timeframe.

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