How the Team at SERVPRO of Carrollton Helps Homeowners Avoid Insurance Claim Mistakes
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Carrollton offers tips on how homeowners can avoid insurance claim mistakes.
The staff at SERVPRO of Carrollton, a Carrollton, TX, damage restoration company, knows how complicated and confusing home insurance can be. The task of correctly filing a claim on homeowners insurance is challenging and, at times, frustrating, especially in cases involving extensive property damage or a complex claim.
The likelihood of filing a claim increases as 2021 progresses. Summer tornado activity gears up. The eastern and Gulf Coast United States head into hurricane season. The western U.S., including Texas and the Dallas/Fort Worth area, including Carrollton, has already started its yearly battle against wildfires and whatever else comes along the way.
The industry experts at Forbes report that almost six percent or one out of fifteen insured homeowners filed a claim in 2018, according to data from the Insurance Information Institute. A staggering 98% of those claims stemmed from some form of property damage.
Informed and meticulous homeowners are capable of successfully navigating the insurance claims process. Listed below are some common mistakes homeowners should avoid making when filing an insurance claim after a property damage disaster.
Mistake #1: The homeowner did not take photo and video documentation of the damage.
The failure to thoroughly document property damage is the most common error homeowners make when filing an insurance claim. Homeowners encounter this pitfall when they fail to take pictures and videos of property damage as soon as the damage occurs or as soon as the damage is discovered.
Homeowners need to know that images and videos are vital when filing a claim. Periodically, a homeowner should create a walk-through video of the home. The video can be stored on the cloud, where it can be accessed at any time. This archive enables the homeowner to prove the extent of the damage to the house should property damage occur. This documentation can greatly aid the processing of the claim payout.
Mistake #2: The homeowner neglected to read the insurance policy.
Insurance policies are not easy to read. Although the technical language is complicated, the homeowner should still make an effort to understand the coverages in the policy. For instance, a common incorrect assumption is that flood insurance is the same as water backup coverage. Water backup coverage covers damage caused by a sewer drain or sump pump backup and will not cover damage from a flood.
Mistake #3: The homeowner did not have the right insurance to cover the property damage disaster.
A policy may only have actual cash value coverage for the contents of the home, which is not the same as replacement cost coverage. Damage from the wind and floodwaters of a hurricane is likely not covered by standard home insurance policies, especially if the home is located in a region prone to hurricane damage. A solid hurricane insurance plan might actually consist of three separate policies that ensure adequate coverage. Policy exclusions can financially devastate the homeowner who lives in an area susceptible to natural disasters.
Mistake #4: The homeowner did not make an inventory of the contents of the home.
This mistake will be especially painful in a situation where property damage is extensive. Stress and time impede memory. An exhaustive home inventory will make the claim process easier and faster.
Mistake #5: The homeowner failed to clearly communicate the damage in the insurance claim.
Many home insurance claim mistakes are the result of the homeowner’s failure to clearly describe the damage to the property. Poorly communicated claims information causes delays which can cause the entire claims process to grind to a halt.
Mistake #6: The homeowner did not file the claim promptly.
Negligent home maintenance can result in damages that are not covered by home insurance. For example, damage from a ruptured water pipe is covered. A claim for damage from a roof leak the homeowner failed to promptly repair may be denied because of the failure to take action to stop the leak. The failure to notice and report a potential claim can lead to claim denial.
Mistake #7: The homeowner discarded damaged items that would have been useful to the claim.
The temptation after a property damage disaster is to quickly clean up the mess and discard any debris. Regrettably, homeowners discard damaged belongings before the total damage is documented. In the cleaning process, receipts that would have supported a claim are sometimes destroyed. When filing a claim for a damaged item, keep the item until there is sufficient documentation of the damage. Failing to preserve a paper trail could be a very costly financial mistake.
Mistake #8: The homeowner attempted to navigate the claims process alone.
The insurance claims process is complex. A single error on the part of the homeowner could delay the process or reduce the final payout for damages. The homeowner who tries to navigate the process alone can expect delays, frustration, and an overall negative customer experience.
Trust the damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Carrollton to handle the insurance claims process from beginning to end. The experienced staff will manage the claims process and work to resolve any issues that might arise so that the restoration process can progress smoothly and swiftly.