Apart from life and auto insurance, the popular insurance policy in Minnesota is the homeowners’ insurance policy. Although it’s not required by law, having a comprehensive home insurance policy protects your home and your finances when a natural disaster or an unexpected event occurs.
When homeowners suffer losses from such incidents, homeowners’ insurance companies are there to mitigate the damages and help them get back on their feet.
At the Lake Region Insurance Agency, we understand that the homeowner’s insurance claims process might be complicated. To make it easier for you, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to walk you through the stages, from reporting the damage to receiving a settlement offer.
Home Insurance Claims Filing: A Step-by-Step Guide
In 2021, property damage accounted for 97.7 percent of homeowners insurance claims. And with the extreme weather events in Minnesota, you should know what to expect before you file a homeowners insurance claim.
The claim process differs from one insurance company to another, but we’ll describe the general procedure.
Step 1: Assess the Damage and Report to the Police (If Necessary)
The first step is to check the extent of damage to your house and personal belongings. If it’s extensive damage, you shouldn’t enter your home until the authorities deem it safe. You may also need to get a police report if the house was damaged due to criminal activity like vandalism or burglary.
Step 2: Contact Your Home Insurance Company
Next, you should inform your homeowner’s insurance company or insurance agent of the damage. While speaking with the company representative, find out whether your policy covers the type of loss you’ve had.
Additionally, it’s important to know your deductible to determine how much you’ll pay out of pocket. But if the repair costs are lower than your deductible, you don’t have to go through with the home insurance claim process.
Step 3: File a Claim
When you’ve confirmed that you’re eligible to file a claim, the insurance company will send you the claim forms. You’re expected to fill out the forms within a stipulated time frame.
Considering the large number of property damage in Minnesota, state law mandates home insurance companies to respond to certain issues within 60 days. But some companies are responsive and may attend to you within three business days.
Step 4: Schedule a Meeting with the Insurance Adjuster
After filing a claim, the home insurance company will send an adjuster to interview you and inspect the damaged property. Prepare supporting documentation, including evidence of ownership of damaged personal belongings, to help expedite the claim process.
Step 5: Collect Your Check and Commence Permanent Repairs
Your insurance company will make you an offer after the adjuster has verified your home insurance claim. If you’re satisfied with the settlement amount, you’ll receive an initial payment, usually in the form of a check based on the contractor’s bid, to pay for the necessary repairs.
When the contractor hands over their final bill and you’ve submitted receipts of your actual expenses, you’ll receive the final payment.
What to Do While Waiting
Filing a claim and getting approved can take time, so make the most out of your waiting period by doing the following:
Document the Damages
On the day of the incident, if the building is safe for entry, take time to document the damage by taking photos and possibly some videos. You should also list the items that require repair or replacement and ensure you collate receipts for each item. They will come in handy when the public insurance adjuster visits the site.
While cleaning the building, you can discard perishable food. But be careful not to throw away other items until your meeting with the public adjuster. They’ll determine what should go into the dumpster.
Make Temporary Repairs
It’s also a good idea to prevent further damage by making temporary repairs such as drying out wet areas, boarding up broken windows and doors, and clearing clogged downpipes. Ensure to keep receipts and invoices of repairs so your insurance company can reimburse the money.
Also, if the situation requires moving to a temporary accommodation while waiting to complete the repair process, your homeowner’s policy will cover it. But, you must show adequate proof for such additional living expenses.
Gather Quotes From Reliable Contractors
Lastly, we also recommend contacting reliable contractors within your locality to get repair estimates. The estimated cost will guide you to negotiate for the best settlement amount.
Home insurance claims could be a lifesaver when disaster strikes. However, knowing how to navigate the process will help you get the correct settlement amount.
The procedure might be overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone, as your insurance agent is there to guide you. Remember to document the event, take pictures of the scene, keep a handy list of damaged items and their receipts, and report the situation promptly.
If you want to know more about homeowners policies and the insurance claim process, contact us today. We offer the best insurance services in Minnesota. You can also walk into our offices in Cokato and Wilmar to discuss your insurance preferences.