I have owned a home for about 9 years and I just had to make my first home insurance claim. I had heard things from some people about how if you make an insurance claim, your insurance premium goes up. Well, so much of that depends on the type of claim and on the type of insurance that I was a little reticent to make a claim.
As far as making a claim goes, you first need to determine if there is damage. That may seem like it would be obvious but in some cases like roof damage, it may be unclear if you have damage unless you let a qualified professional take a look at it. When I called my insurance company after the storm, the advised me to get a roofer to look at it and then file a claim if needed.
I had a qualified roofing professional from Tip Top Roofing take a look and he said there was lots of hail damage and wind damage and he suggested making a claim. I was still nervous about it. You think to yourself, how much will the damage cost to fix and how much is my deductible, then it becomes much more obvious whether or not you should file a claim. In my case, the price of a new roof, which is what the roofer suggested, was much higher than my deductible so I knew I needed to file a home insurance claim.
The roofer told me that many people think that your premiums will increase if you file a claim but that it is a common misconception if the damage is due to something that falls under the “act of God clause.” He told me that the premium increases you hear about from weather related incidents operate by zip code. For instance, if many people in your area are filing claims, your premium will increase regardless of whether or not you personally file a claim.
Once you establish the damage and decide based on the repair estimate and your deductible if you should file a claim, the only thing left to do is call your insurance company up and file a claim. At that point, each company will work a little differently but mine (Hanover Insurance) asked questions like Date and time the storm occurred, who assessed the damage, was the roof leaking and then they set up a date for an adjustor to come out about a week after my call. Then she said she would email me with the claim information. I never got an email but about one and a half weeks later, I got a check. My insurance holds back 20% of the claim amount until the work is completed and they are provided with a receipt.
I hope these tips and information help you if you ever need to make a home insurance claim!
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