How to File a Homeowners or Renters Insurance Claim After a Break-in
Your home has been broken into. The place is trashed. Stuff is gone. You feel violated , angry and scared. And you don’t look forward to the work involved with putting your home and your life back together. Still, once you’ve established your security and alerted authorities, it’s important to get your insurance claims process moving.
Homeowners and renters insurance can help you replace your possessions after a loss, but only if you file a claim in a timely and complete manner. Take the time to understand how the process works before you need to go through it.
Filing a claim after a robbery
If your loss is significant, it’s wise to file a claim and let your insurance carrier help you handle high costs or complicated repairs.
How to file a claim
If you need to file a claim, work with your insurance agent or company. These 7 steps can speed the process.
1. Report the incident to authorities. For a burglary, vandalism, fire or other trauma, this is a vital first step. (Leaky roofs, malfunctioning HVAC systems, etc. aren’t typically reasons to bring in the police or fire department.) If police and fire are dispatched to your residence, give them all the details of the event. And keep copies of their reports; you’ll need them when filing your insurance claim.
2. Call your insurance company. After you file a police or fire report, contact your insurance agent or company’s claims department. Your policy probably requires you to do so within a certain amount of time after the loss. When you call, have at hand all of the details of the incident, plus your policy number.
3. Complete a claims form with your agent. This form includes all the details of the incident. Be thorough – note what was damaged, when and how. For smaller claims, filing a claims report should suffice. For larger losses, your agent may send an adjuster to inspect the damage.
4. Document the damages. Before you begin cleanup, photograph or record the damage and include the images with your claim. Moreover, it’s wise to visually document your home and belongings before a loss, so you have “before” and “after” images when filing a claim.
5. Make temporary repairs so your home is safe and livable. While you’re waiting for your claim to be processed, you may make temporary repairs. But review your policy for guidelines about what’s covered and be sure to save repair receipts. Don’t start permanent, major repairs or renovations until your claim is complete and compensation is confirmed.
6. If you have to move temporarily, save receipts. If the damage to your residence is so extensive that you must relocate for a while, your policy may help cover those costs. Save hotel, restaurant receipts and the like – and discuss with your agent how to submit them for reimbursement.
7. Make yourself available. Be reachable and ready to talk with your insurance agent and claims adjuster after you file a claim. The faster you can answer questions and provide necessary information, the faster your claim can be processed.
Get the homeowners or renters insurance coverage you need
Dealing with loss or damage to your home is stressful, but understanding the claims process can help get your life back on track faster. So is having the right insurance coverage.