In my last post, I gave you 5 tips on filing a homeowners claim. But there are more than 5 things you can do to make sure that your homeowners claim goes smoothly. Every homeowners insurance policy is a bit different. You should read your policy, preferably before you take out your insurance. At the very least, at the time of your claim, you should read your policy. If you do not understand it, contact an expert to review it with you. (Generally, that expert is not your agent since he/she works for the insurance company!)
So, without further ado, here are 5 more tips on filing a homeowners claim.
1. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT
Track down owners manuals, receipts, and any other paper that shows what you owned! The more documentation you can provide, the easier the claim will be.
2. AVOID THE “VULTURES”
Especially after fires, people will come to your house and ask you to hire them. Avoid hiring anyone at this time.
3. DO NOT SIGN PAPERS
There are a ton of papers that you could sign with a homeowner’s insurance claim. Do not sign them. These are very complicated papers. You must read them and ask the adjuster to explain them to you. If you still do not understand, then ask for an explanation IN WRITING!
4. READ THE INTERNET
On auto claims, I tell you not to read the Internet. On homeowner’s claims, the Internet can give you great information: replacement prices for your TV, information on contractors’ licenses, hotels that give weekly or monthly rates. Use the Internet to do research!
5. TALK TO AN ATTORNEY
If you do not understand the process or you feel pressured by the insurance company, talk to an attorney. The consultation may cost you an hour of the attorney’s fee, but it will be well worth it.
The last tip, talk to an attorney, should be a last resort. If you do not understand anything that is happening with your claim, make sure that you talk to someone who can help you. The first person is the adjuster, but if you do not trust the adjuster or do not understand the adjuster, hiring an advocate may be the right way to go.