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About 5% of homeowners will need to file a home insurance claim this year, according to estimates from the Insurance Information Institute. In case you’re one of the unlucky few, understanding how the claims process works can make a stressful time a little easier and help move the process along.
Here’s what you need to know about the home insurance claim process:
- home insurance claim process
- Who gets the check for an insurance claim?
- can you cash an insurance claim check?
- how long does it take to get an insurance check?
- Can my mortgage company keep my insurance claim check?
home insurance claim process
Most insurance policies require you to file your homeowners insurance claim as soon as possible. Your insurance company may have a slightly different way of handling claims, but in general, these are the steps you’ll need to take:
- Document the damage or file a police report. You won’t need a complete list of damages or losses to start a claim, but your insurance company will want as much information as possible . make a list of damaged/lost items and take photos whenever possible. A home inventory, if you’ve created one, makes this job quicker. If you are making a claim for theft or vandalism, contact your police department for a copy of the police report.
- Gather your information. In addition to a list of damages, the insurance company will need your name and contact information, as well as your homeowners insurance policy number, the date you damage occurred and information about any injuries that occurred. Gather all receipts, appraisals, and other documentation to support the value of your damaged and lost property as well.
- Contact the insurance company. File your claim as soon as possible. Have a notepad and pen handy so you can write down your claim number and any other important information the insurance company provides, such as what will and will not be covered and when to expect a visit from a claims adjuster to inspect the damage.
- fill out the insurance claim form. insurance will either send you forms to fill out or direct you to fill them out online. Please complete and submit the forms immediately, and include any photos or documentation required by the insurance company.
- make temporary repairs. to prevent further damage, make any necessary repairs and keep receipts for any purchases made for these repairs. You can seek reimbursement from your insurer later for all reasonable costs to protect your home. do not make permanent repairs until the claims adjuster has inspected the property, and use caution when making repairs of any kind.
- meet with the claims adjuster. If your insurer sends an adjuster to look at the damage, you should meet with them at the designated time. The insurance adjuster will have questions about the damage or loss and may need additional information, such as contact information for injured parties in the event of a liability claim. They will also discuss repair and/or replacement options with you.
- wait for your claim check. once the claim is approved, your insurance company will send you one or more checks to pay the claim (minus your deductible). for example, you may receive separate checks to cover damage to your home, damage to personal belongings, flood damage, and reimbursement for additional living expenses if you were displaced from your home.
who gets the check for an insurance claim?
The insurer will send you an initial check made out to you. if you have a mortgage, your insurer will write the check for both you and the lender. In some cases, the home insurance company sends the check directly to the lender. the lender then holds the check in an escrow account until the funds are needed to pay for the repairs.
When third parties are involved, such as when an injured party files a liability claim, or when a contractor requests direct payment, the insurer can send checks directly to those people.
can you cash an insurance claim check?
You can cash any insurance claim check that is made out to you.
However, if the claim is for property you co-own, for example, if you own your home with your partner, the check will also list those people as payees. this includes your mortgage lender if you have a mortgage on the home. Any check payable to you and the other co-owners must be endorsed by all persons named on the check before it can be cashed.
how long does it take to get an insurance check?
The time it takes to get your claim paid depends on a number of factors, including your homeowners policy, the circumstances, and the extent of the damage. the claims adjuster may offer you an on-the-spot settlement, essentially a full payment for the damages, and may accept the check immediately. otherwise, your first check could simply be an advance to hold onto until you negotiate a deal.
once your claim is approved, it can take days, weeks, or even longer before the final payment arrives, especially if your state laws don’t place limits on how long insurance companies can take to send payments after I have approved a claim.
can my mortgage company keep my insurance claim check?
If your mortgage company is listed as a payee on the claim check, or if you receive the check directly, they may hold the funds to ensure necessary repairs are made.
however, the claim is yours. Once the job is complete and the lender has inspected and signed for it, they will release any remaining funds to you unless the insurance company requests a refund.
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