How Do Home Insurance Claims Work?

Filing a home insurance claim is a process that documents what happened to your home and offers a way to estimate the damage to get it repaired. Here's what you need to know about home insurance coverage for the property and contents.

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How Do Home Insurance Claims Work?

A homeowners insurance claim can seem like a daunting process, but with the help of your agent and the insight into when homeowners insurance coverage applies, it may not be worrisome at all. You should understand what home insurance claims require when to process one, and what to expect if you need to file a claim for a large concern, such as roof damage.

Understanding When to File a Claim with Home Insurance Companies

You buy home insurance to help you when the unexpected occurs. You should not worry about having to file a home insurance claim. It is your right to do so when you suffer any type of unexpected or unavoidable loss to your property. The process does not have to be too complicated or time-consuming either. Your home insurance company’s agent will work you through the entire process.


When something occurs to your home, you may want to consider filing a claim. Your insurance agent will work to understand what occurred and then will determine if your losses fall in line with your policy’s coverage. Most home insurance policies cover damage to the structure of the home and the contents within it. However, each policy has a limit as well.


You also need to consider whether or not your home insurance deductible will play a role. This is the amount of money you must pay, per incident, before your insurer covers the rest. If the damages you suffered were under this limit, you may not be able to file a claim or it may not result in much of a payment for you.


File a home insurance claim if you have damage to your home above and beyond your deductible. Use it to cover the damage to the structure, the contents in your home, and your emergency needs to live somewhere else.


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What Is Home Contents Insurance?

One of the components of your home insurance coverage is contents insurance. The contents of your home, or your personal belongings, are covered under your policy. Most policies cover against theft, loss in a covered peril like a fire, as well as vandalism. The deductible on your home insurance policy still applies here, though.


If you have a large-scale event, such as a fire, your home insurance company will have you estimate what the value of your belongings lost in the fire where. If you have a home inventory that tracks what you own, that can be very helpful here. Most policies provide between 10 and 50 percent in coverage based on the value of your property insurance coverage. That provides a sizable amount of coverage for your losses.

When Does Your Home Insurance Company Cover Damage to Your Home?

Damage to your home includes any type of structural change such as due to fire or storm damage. It also includes theft, vandalism, and falling objects. Be sure to read the exclusions on your home’s policy. These are specific types of losses that your policy does not cover. Floods and earthquakes are two of the most common exclusions in the U.S.


Most policies cover the main structure of the home along with any permanent fixtures to it, such as a porch, deck, or garage. You can also add other structures on your property to your plan, such as your shed or outbuilding.

Example of What Happens with a Roof Hail Damage Insurance Claim

Let’s say you have roof damage from hail. You want to file a home insurance claim for roof damage. Your agent gathers information, verifies your policy, and then goes to work to help you. You will need to obtain an inspection from a licensed roofing company to determine if repairs are possible. If the hail damage is extensive, the home insurance company may replace the entire roof. If so, it pays for the materials, the labor, and the cleanup of the process. You will need to pay the deductible on your policy and the home insurance company will then cover the remaining amount.

Will Claims Increase Home Insurance Rates?

A common concern for many property owners is whether or not filing a home insurance claim will increase rates. In some cases, it can. Individuals who file multiple insurance claims are more likely to do so in the future. This can raise your rates. If you have not filed before and are unlikely to do again, your insurance company isn’t likely to raise your insurance costs.


Learning how to file a home insurance claim is important. Yet, today, your home insurance agent is likely to make the process very straightforward. If you have damage from a fire, storm, or vandalism, contact your agent right away. He or she can start the claims process the same day.


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