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Understanding the Claims Process: What to Do When Your Home is Damaged


Understanding the Claims Process: What to Do When Your Home is Damaged

When you suffer damage to your home, your priority should be to ensure your and your family’s safety.  After you’ve done this, your next step should entail contacting your insurance provider to report any loss or damage. At this time, your provider will begin the claims process by filing a claim and providing you with the claim number. During this initial conversation, we recommend confirming the best number for your provider to reach you, as this information may have changed from the time you purchased your policy. This is an important part of the process because you are going to want your provider to be able to contact you in a timely manner to share updates about your claim.

After your claim number is created, your insurance provider then assigns a claim’s examiner to help you through the claims process and answer any questions you may have. During this time, you can help expedite the process by reviewing the damage and providing this information to the claim’s examiner. If you notice ongoing damage, please take the necessary steps to mitigate and prevent any additional damage. This may include installing a tarp on your roof to prevent water from entering any holes or shutting off the source of water if there is a pipe burst in your home. If you need help locating contractors to complete this work, you can contact your claims examiner for recommendations.

Aside from the claim’s examiner assigned to your case, your insurance provider will also send an adjuster to inspect the damage. Thus, if you are unable to identify all damage, the adjuster can help. If you have damage to any personal property, it is helpful to start compiling a list of the damaged items.  The list should include a description of the items, where and when it was purchased, and how much it would cost to replace. The adjuster will then work with you to complete any missing information. 

If you have a mortgage, it is a good idea to call the mortgage company and ask them about their process for handling insurance payments. This is critical because most payments for damage to your structure will also include the mortgage company as a payee on the check.

As a final step, if you aren’t planning on completing the repairs yourself, this is the time to look for a contractor to repair your home. Don’t know where to look? Friends and family who have worked with contractors are often great referral sources, and additionally, your claim’s examiner may be able to help.

Overall, as you discover damage to your home and begin any temporary repairs, it is always a good idea to photograph or video the damage prior to making any repairs. This documentation will help assist your adjuster in evaluating the damage.  You should also ask for and keep copies of receipts for work that is completed to repair your home. 

Written by Mike Durovic, EVP, Pharos Claims Services

Interested in learning about the claims process? Click here to read our step-by-step process on how to file a claim.