If your home is the victim of a violent storm or a burglar break-in, you might need to file a homeowners insurance claim with your insurance company. If you’ve never done this before, you could be confused by what the process entails, or where you should even begin.
There are certain rules and procedures that both your insurer and you must follow during the home insurance claims process. But don’t panic; you and your home insurance in New Jersey will work as a team to get things squared away.
1. Report Illegal Activity
If your home was damaged as the result of a storm or other natural disaster, you can skip this step. If you are the victim of a theft or your home has been vandalized or burglarized, report it to the police. Get a police report and the names of all law enforcement officers that you speak as you may need to provide these details to assist with your claim.
2. Phone Your Insurer
Immediately call your insurer to check that you are covered, how long you have to file a claim, if it will exceed deductibles (if your loss is lower than your deductible, you probably won’t want to go through the claims filing process), how long the process will take, and if you damage repair estimates.
This is the time to ask all of your questions, no matter how small or trivial they may seem. Your insurance agent is there to help you through this process, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed, they will have the knowledge to help you to calm down and feel more assured about how to proceed.
3. Fill Out the Forms
If you determine that you’ll be making a claim, your insurance company will send you the necessary claim forms. You are legally required to send these within a specified time period. Return the properly filled-out forms as soon as possible to avoid delays. If you have any questions about how to fill out the forms, feel free to contact your insurance agent.
4. Do a Damage Inspection
Your insurer will most likely have an adjuster interview you and inspect your home’s property damage to determine how much they should pay for the loss. Be prepared to show the adjuster any structural damage and have a list of damaged items ready to make the best use of the time.
5. Make Temporary Repairs
Take photos or videos of the damage, then take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage. Avoid throwing out damaged items until the adjuster has visited your home. Save receipts for what you spend in efforts to submit them to you for reimbursement.
6. Determine if Relocation is Necessary
If your home is so damaged that you need to find other living accommodations while repairs are being made, keep receipts and records of all additional expenses incurred. Additional living expenses may be covered in such cases, but you will need to provide proof of the costs. Make sure to thoroughly read over your policy or ask your agent if temporary lodging costs are covered by your policy.
7. Ask all the Questions
If you have any questions about the claim filing laws or process of home insurance in New Jersey, be sure to speak with your agent so you are well equipped with all of the information that you’ll need. This process is a tough one, but by understanding it before the accident takes place, you’ll be able to have a solid plan in place to jump into action should the unexpected occur.
About SB One Insurance Agency
At SB One Insurance Agency, we have served the businesses and residents of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania for more than 60 years. We are a wholly-owned subsidiary of SB One Bank, the region’s premier banking institution, and we are prepared to offer you personal, business, employee benefit, and risk management solutions. To learn more about our coverage options, contact our specialists today at (888) 990-0526.