Tips on Filing an Insurance Claim

Image Source – New York Times

Today is a day that is burned into every New Orleanian’s heart. A day we remember oh so many things we may wish we didn’t have to remember. It’s been 12 years since Katrina struck New Orleans, and as we see Hurricane Harvey hitting the Houston, Texas area, we are saddened once more. We know the pain and heart you are going through. Houston, you were there for us, we will be there for you. You will rebuild and be stronger than ever.

One of the most stressful parts of trying to get everything back in order in the insurance claims process. Here are a few tips to get things going as smoothly as possible.

  • Call your insurance company ASAP – Your insurance company will need to visit the affected area. But they need a claim number first. The sooner you get your claim number the sooner you can get things started. Some companies visit the hardest hit areas first, keep that in mind with any delays. Always have your claim number close by when calling for updates. This is the easiest way for them to reference any work done on your file.
  • Document ALL loss – pictures and video – Take pictures and videos of everything damaged. Be sure to include dates. If you have an estimated value of items, start a list of that as well.
  • Keep track of everything you spend – Save receipts on immediate repairs to file with the insurance company later, or even better take pictures of them.  If you are not able to stay in your home, also be sure to save receipts of hotel stays.
  • Get everything in writing –  Anytime you have a communication with the insurance company, put it in writing. This does for contractors, the adjuster, and others. Be sure to log the dates, times, and details of any phone conversations. Keep copies of email correspondence. Ask for any estimates in writing.
  • Sign up for text alerts. – Some insurance providers will send text updates with your claims process. This can include anything from when you first file the claim to when an adjustor is coming out or when your check is issued.

Your phone can be a good resource for documentation. Download an app like Dropbox to save all pictures and videos of everything you document so you aren’t scrolling through your phone later. Use the notepad app on your phone to make lists. Be sure to back these up or document in two different places if you tend to lose information on your phone easily.

Source: “After Hurricane Harvey: Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim,” USA Today (Aug. 28, 2017) and “‘A Very Heavy Lift’: Harvey Will Drive 30,000 to Shelters in Texas, FEMA Says,” USA Today (Aug. 28,2 017) and the National Association of REALTORS®