If you’re a homeowner, chances are high you’ll eventually need to file property insurance claims. Before you do, make sure you know these seven crucial facts about property insurance and filing for a claim.
Your Property Insurance Coverage Can Vary… a Lot
Before you ever agreed to your insurance policy, you should read the contract. Don’t skip over the fine print.
Many homeowners are shocked to find out they didn’t have as much coverage as they initially thought. This is because your property insurance can vary a lot. If you had work done on your home, it might not be covered by your initial policy, either.
Certain Losses Aren’t Typically Covered
Your home insurance will cover not everything. That means property insurance claims can’t be filed, or, if they are, they’ll be denied. But what losses aren’t usually covered?
Damage caused by floods and earthquakes isn’t usually covered. If you live in an area prone to flooding or earthquakes, you’ll want to get event-specific insurance. Otherwise, you could end up paying out of pocket if either of these natural phenomena damages your home or property.
Included Personal Property Protection Might Not Be Enough
For some, the personal property protection included in their insurance policy might be enough. But this isn’t always the case.
If you own items of high value, you may want to consider purchasing extra property protection. Examples of high-value items include:
- Fine art
- Large flat-screen televisions
- Gaming systems
- Sound systems
- High-end laptops or desktop computers
- Musical instruments or equipment
- Collectibles of any kind
These are only a few examples. The key is to do a thorough inventory of your home, so you know how much your belongings are worth. If you don’t, you run the risk of receiving an insurance claim well below what you’ve lost.
Poor Home Maintenance Can Cause Claims to Be Denied
Keeping up on your home is essential for many reasons. You know a house that has fallen into disrepair is a safety hazard. But did you know it could also cause your property insurance claims to be denied?
A home that isn’t taken care of properly runs the insurance company a lot of risks. Things are more likely to become damaged or break when they’re in bad condition, to begin with. But how does the insurance company know if your home hasn’t been adequately maintained?
The insurance company itself does routine inspections, usually when it’s time to renew (or start) your policy. They may notice issues during these inspections. It’s also possible that this information could come from your town’s code enforcement department or your homeowner’s association.
Suppose you were repeatedly asked to repair a damaged roof but failed to, for example. In that case, your property insurance company may deny future claims. The same might be true if you’ve been warned about damaged siding or cracked front steps.
Filing Small Claims Probably Aren’t Worth It
You may think it’s wise to file property insurance claims every time something is damaged, but it’s not always worth it. Most insurance companies have a deductible you need to meet each year before they cover something. This deductible may cut drastically into a small claim.
An even more unfortunate fact is that filing many small claims can raise your insurance rates. So filing a claim worth $200 when you have a deductible of $100 only nets you $100 from your insurance company. If your rates go up by just $25 a year, you’ll end up paying significantly more than you claimed over time.
If damage to your home or property is insignificant enough that you could pay out of pocket, it’s better to do so. Save your claims for bigger things or times when you don’t have money to cover a necessary repair.
You Have a Deadline to File a Claim
From the moment the damage occurs, you’re on a countdown to file a claim. How long you have to file varies between companies, but the average time is about two weeks.
If you file a claim after these two weeks, your claim will automatically be denied. If you’re not sure how long you have to claim after an incident, reread your contract or contact your insurance rep.
You Have Certain Rights Outlined in Your Contract
Many homeowners feel uncertain about their property insurance contracts. What’s covered and what isn’t? What is allowed and what isn’t?
The answers to these questions usually vary by company and location. No matter what insurance policy you have, however, every person has certain rights outline in their contracts they should be aware of.
These rights include:
- The right to access your insurance policy contract if it was lost
- The right to access information about your insurance claim at any time during or after the process
- The right to challenge denied claims and present proof as to why the claim should have been approved
It’s essential to know these rights when filing property insurance claims. Knowing them lets you better understand the process and why your claim was approved or denied.
Do You Have More Questions About Property Insurance Claims?
Knowing the seven facts above is crucial to understanding the process of insurance claims. If you ever feel confused about a claim, it’s best to speak to a professional for further information.
Do you have more questions about property insurance claims?
Check out our other blog posts. You’ll find a wealth of information on related topics to help you dive further into the subject.