Homeowners insurance is designed to help protect you, your home, and your personal property. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 1 out of every 15 insured homeowners files an insurance claim each year. Here are five things your claims adjuster wants you to know before that happens.
Know what your policy covers, and what it does not
Many claims are denied every year because they are for losses that are simply not covered under the homeowner’s policy. Understanding your coverage can help you avoid surprises if you need to file a claim.
Example: Standard homeowners (HO3) policies do not cover flood losses. Flood insurance must be purchased separately. You can find out more about flood insurance by visiting FEMA’s website and learning about the National Flood Insurance Program.
High value personal property should be inventoried
Some items have a value that is higher than the coverage provided by a typical HO3 policy. If a loss of such an item were to occur, the entire value of the item may not be covered. Adding scheduled personal property coverage to your policy can help provide adequate coverage.
Example: Expensive jewelry, high end electronics, furs, guns, antiques, and other like items can be scheduled under a rider policy which provides higher coverage limits in case of accidental loss or theft.
Store your inventory list someplace safe and accessible
Your inventory list should include a list of items to be scheduled, receipts, appraisals, serial and model numbers, and photographs of each item. Several copies should be made and stored in safe places, so they can be accessed quickly if needed.
Example: If you have a home safe, store a copy there. Keep another in a bank safe deposit box. A third copy can be entrusted to a family member if there is a possibility they would be helping to organize things in case of an incident.
Call your insurance carrier first
If a loss does occur, call your insurance carrier first. This holds true whether your loss is caused by a weather event, an accident, theft, or other circumstances. Don’t let anyone begin to repair damage to your home before you speak to an insurance representative. Olympus Insurance provides a claims kit to walk homeowners through the claims process.
Example: If a storm causes roof damage to your home and others on your street, do not allow a “friendly contractor” to climb on your roof or start repairs before calling your carrier. This could save you from becoming a victim of contractor insurance fraud.
Document everything as thoroughly as possible
In case of a loss, your camera is your best friend. Take as many photos as possible, and follow up with written descriptions of the damages or loss. If you require emergency assistance to prevent more damage from occurring, this documentation can provide the adjuster with information on how the original site looked directly following the loss.
Example: If your roof is damaged and it is still storming and raining, the roof may need to be tarped. (Use a certified company to perform this task to reduce risk of injury to yourself, or liability.)
Being prepared is the best way to help your claim be settled swiftly and efficiently. By documenting in case of a loss and after a loss, you can provide your claims adjuster with the clearest picture possible of what your home and its contents look like, and help them help you get back to normal as quickly as possible.
About Olympus Insurance Company
Headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, FL and founded in 2007, Olympus Insurance Company specializes in Florida property insurance. Through its independent agency force, Olympus insures $45 billion worth of residential and investment property including homes, condos, rental property, and valuable personal property, with umbrella coverage and Spartan Enhanced Coverage available. Coverage for individual risks up to $5 million in total insured value is provided on one of the most comprehensive coverage forms in the industry.
For more information, visit olympusinsurance.com.