One of the worst things that could happen to anyone is to have their home wrecked by a natural disaster. Each year, natural disasters destroy thousands of lives and homes. In 2017 alone, they cost the government $320 billion dollars.
Very few areas in the country are less prone to natural calamities. That is why it is important for every homeowner to stay prepared. Whether your home has been recently hit by a natural disaster or you simply want to know how insurance claim payments work, this guide is for you.
Here are the steps to apply for an insurance claim.
1. Understand Your Policy
Different policies have different scopes. Reading the fine print might be exhausting but that’s the best way to be informed. On your home insurance contract, check the types of natural disasters covered. Determine what happens during the different stages of an insurance claim, what you need to do, what you need to provide, and how much (at the most) you can get. If there are processes or terms that appear vague to you, it’s a great idea to call your insurance provider.
2. Document the BEFORE and AFTER.
Even before the natural disaster, take photos of your property, along with an inventory of your home and possessions to serve as your reference. Keep a backup of your documentation by uploading these items on your Google Drive or any cloud storage system. After the natural disaster, do the same thing. In most cases, you will need to have major parts of your home fixed (such as the roof) right away and not wait for your insurance claim. If you don’t have an emergency fund for immediate repairs, know that you can get financing. Homeowners who are not qualified for regular loans can check out “opencashadvance.com“ for bad credit payday loans. Keep track of all your expenses, including receipts for reimbursement.
3. Prevent Further Damage
Hours or days after a natural calamity, things can get very chaotic and depressing. Aside from calling your insurance provider, you want to prevent further loss or damage to your property by salvaging any items that you can. Do not throw those that you can no longer use as your insurance company has the right to see the items that have to be compensated.
4. Call Your Insurance Company ASAP
After a natural disaster, call your insurance service provider the moment you are able to. It’s not just to inform them. It is also important to understand your options and find out how you will get compensated. Even though at times an insurance claim might seem pretty straightforward for you, there is likely some concerns that you need to be addressed. You need an insurance expert to give you peace of mind.
5. Check Your State Policies for Insurance Claims
Some states have detailed guidelines on how fast insurance claims should be handled. For example, in California, claims have to be acknowledged within 15 days and insurance companies have 40 days to either accept or deny the claim application. In Texas, acknowledgment of insurance claims is also done within 15 days but insurance companies can extend the time for up to 45 days as long as they provide an explanation.
Natural disasters are inevitable. The only way to deal with them is to be prepared. Obtaining an insurance claim should be one of your top priorities after a natural disaster. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor. By following these steps, you can ensure speedy processing of your claim.