Whether it's a flood in your basement or damage to your roof following a storm or damage from fire and smoke after a mishap in the kitchen, your home is now clearly in need of some TLC. Most people will have a homeowners' insurance policy in place that should handle most of these things, but you need to be careful when attempting to collect from your insurer. The insurance agency has an interest in keeping its costs down and that's why what you say and how you go about this situation could be of the utmost importance if you want to maximize your payout for the damage. Here are some tips to keep in mind when trying to work with your insurer to get a payout on your homeowners' policy.
Document As Much As You Can So There Will Be No Doubt As to What is Going On
If the insurance agency sends someone to your property to take a look, they will likely take photos and document the damage. But you can get ahead of the game by documenting all of this yourself and sending it in to your insurer. Make sure you photograph from multiple angles and show off every last spec of the damage. It will be hard for any insurance agency to decline a claim or lowball your payout if the damage is obviously apparent in your photos.
Speak Carefully When Talking to the Insurance Agency or an Adjuster That They Send to Your Home
Know what's in your homeowners' policy and what kind of damage is and is not covered. Use this information to your advantage when speaking to any representative of the insurance agency both in person or over the phone. For example, if you are dealing with some water damage in your basement from a burst pipe but your homeowner's policy does not cover floods, be sure to repeat "water damage" and don't specifically use the word "flood" if you can help it. Don't volunteer any information that might make the damage look like your fault, like if your family has been flushing things down the toilet that don't belong in there, leading to a clog and eventually a leak.
Know That You Can Hire Your Own Insurance Damages Expert
If you don't like the initial estimate for the payout you receive from your insurance agency, consider hiring your own outside expert. You can submit your own expert's findings to the insurance company to help your case. In the event you still don't get the settlement you want, you may be able to use this information as evidence if you decide to take your insurer to court, or at least try and bring them to the negotiation table.
To learn more, contact an insurance damages expert in your area.