1.) What is your deductible?

Things to Consider Before Filing a Property Damage Insurance ClaimIf the damage to your property and the ensuing costs to repair or replace is less than the amount of your deductible or slightly over – then you should consider not filing an insurance claim. For example, a small fire occurs in a homeowner’s kitchen, causing $500 in damage and they have a $1,000 deductible. In this instance, the policyholder should not file an insurance claim because it will pay out nothing due to the deductible not having been met. The only time an insurance claim will pay out is if the property damage exceeds the policy’s deductible. If the property damage is only slightly more than the deductible, then the insurance company may actually consider it to be a ‘nuisance claim.’

Unfortunately in this scenario, the homeowner’s best choice is to replace the damaged property out-of-pocket. Understanding what a deductible is and how it will affect future claims when purchasing an insurance policy can help to be sure you are selecting an amount that you would be able to afford should a loss occur.

2.) Have you filed a property damage claim recently?

Filing several property damage claims within a small amount of time (for example, the third or fourth claim in the past decade or less) and/or for small amounts - can put a homeowner in the ‘high-risk category’ in the eyes of their insurance company. This can result in increased premiums, or in the insurance company’s refusal to insure the homeowner any longer. While there are many factors that decide what a policyholder’s premium will be, one determining factor is the policyholder’s history in filing claims – especially smaller ‘nuisance claims.’

3.) Do you need help navigating the claims process?

In a post-disaster environment, the policyholder is at a distinct disadvantage. The insurance company is very familiar with the claims process, and their responsibilities; whereas, a home or business owner is typically not. Fortunately, there are professionals who can help - namely public adjusters. A public adjuster levels the playing field, putting a professional on the policyholder’s side. Public adjusters can help prepare the claim, present it to the insurance company, and serve as an advocate. The earlier a public adjuster is brought into the process, the greater the likelihood that they are able to obtain a more favorable settlement for their client.

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