How to File a Homeowners Claim

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Someone filling out Insurance Claim Form
Never Filed a Home owners claim?

The Process of Filing a Claim on Your Homeowners Insurance: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself

The following are some helpful steps to help you file a successful claim:

First of all, it is essential that you read your insurance policy to understand exactly what your responsibilities are.

If you aren’t clear on the policy language then discuss it with your agent.

1. Did You Report The Crime to the Police?

Before worrying about contacting any insurance company, report any crime to the police.

If your home has been part of a burglary or vandalism, report it to the police as soon as possible. Obtain a police report and the names of all officers that you speak with as you may need to provide all the aspects of the event to your insurer.

2. Do I have Homeowners Coverage?

If you do not have coverage, here are THREE MAJOR benefits of getting homeowners insurance:


Provides Property Coverage

Homeowners property coverage provides protection when the physical structure of your home and property are damaged.


Provides Liability Coverage

Homeowners liability coverage provides protection in case someone who is not a covered insured under you policy is injured or killed. Or if their property is damaged while they are on your property.


Satisfies Your Mortgage Lender

Most banks make this a requirement of a home loan.

3. Is This Type of Damage Covered by My Homeowners Policy?

It’s important to understand that not every type of damage is covered by your homeowners policy. Take a look at our guide to see what are covered damages vs. non covered.

4. What Kind of Homeowners Insurance Claims Are Most Common?

It’s especially important to know what kind of damages are most common in your state specifically, because these types of damages are likely to affect the premiums you are paying.

5. How many days do I have to turn in a claim?

Insurance companies want losses filed within a timely manner to begin repairs and prevent further loss.

In many cases the time limit is around 30 days to as much as 1 year from the date of the incident. However, the time limit will vary depending on the insurance company itself.

Do what you can to file the claim AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

6. How long will the claim process take?

If you have to stay at a hotel or somewhere else due to damages to your house, you will be eager to know how long the claims process will take. The following factors will have a big part in how quickly…or slowly…it will take:

  • The total cost of the damage
  • How much communication you have with your claims adjustor
  • What kind of damage it is
  • Did you provide all necessary documents in a timely manner?
  • How long did you wait to contact your insurance company?

7. Will the Cost of My Claim Be More than my Deductible?

If the loss is less than your deductible, you do not need to go through the claims process.

If you are like most people, you constantly need a reminder of what exactly a “deductible” is. Don’t be embarrassed.

When it comes to homeowners insurance, the deductible is the amount a person pays towards the claim BEFORE the insurance company starts to pay.

Therefore, if your expenses are less than your deductible, the insurance company won’t pay…so save yourself some time.

8. Do I need to obtain estimates for repairs to structural damage?

Insurance companies will let you pick whom you would like to repair your home. They also like to see the estimate prior to the repair process starting.

This helps avoid any unnecessary charges.

Remember: The purpose of insurance is to make your home whole again, not to upgrade.

Important Reminders After the Claim has been Filed

  • Fill out claim forms as soon as you can. If you decide that you will be making a claim the insurance company will send you the necessary claim forms. By law, insurance companies must get these out to you within a specified period. Be sure to return the correctly filled out forms quickly to avoid any processing delays.
  • Once the claim has been established, the insurance company will typically send an adjuster out to inspect your property. An adjuster represents the insurance company; their role is to inspect property damage to decide how much the insurance company should compensate for the loss. The insurance adjuster will ask a few questions regarding the damage and inspect the property.
  • You should always be prepared to show the adjuster any structural damage, as well as a list of damaged items ready to make the best use of the time.
  • It is part of the insurance contract for you to make temporary repairs. Take photos or video of the damage, and then take logical steps to protect your property from any further damage. Try not to throw out damaged items until after the adjuster visit. Hold on to receipts for what you spend; it is possible that you may be able to submit them for reimbursement later.
  • Make a list of lost or damaged articles. You are going to need to verify your loss. It’s best to make a list of destroyed or damaged items, plus make a copy of the list for your adjuster. If you still have the original purchase receipts for the damaged items are sure to give copies of the receipts to the adjuster. Maintaining a home inventory will speed this part of the claims process, and check out this list of Forbes top rated inventory apps.
  • If you have to stay in temporary housing, be sure to keep your receipts. If the damage to your home is so significant like a partial fire or severe roof damage that you need to find other living arrangements during the repair process, keep receipts and records of all extra expenses. Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover additional living expenses in such cases, but you will need to prove the extra cost.

In the End

Don’t ever hesitate to ask questions. If you have any concerns about the claim filing laws in your state, give us a call or contact your state department of insurance.


Once you and your insurance company agree on the terms of settling the claim,  state laws require that you be sent payment promptly.

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Find Out More About Homeowners Insurance your State!


Insurance varies greatly from state to state. Click on your state to find out more specifics about homeowners insurance.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2021 by Veronica Moss

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