Filing a homeowners insurance claim can be quite stressful and complicated. Even if you get the help required and do everything correctly, you still might end up having to shell out plenty of additional cash if everything isn’t completely covered. During the holiday season and around the New Year, filing a homeowners insurance claim can be even more traumatic.
Typically, the cost of your property insurance will vary by the property and the level of protection you plan on purchasing, but it usually costs around 0.5% of the home’s initial purchasing price. After a loss, the insured is expected to take steps to mitigate the loss. Claims adjusters will investigate the situation and may result in an increase in rates, an insurance nonrenewal, or cancellation.
According to Farmers Insurance, there has been an increase of mold-related insurance claims of 1,100 over the past decade. Protecting from mold issues is important, but preventing structural fires, criminal break-ins, and other issues that result in filing an insurance claim is extremely essential.
Here are some helpful tips for avoiding costly and frustrating home insurance claims during the winter and around new Years:
- Protect from theft — Throughout the holiday season, break-ins occur much more often across the United States. Since everyone attends parties and special events during the evenings around this time, criminals will pay attention to what families aren’t home and attempt to break in. Make sure you always lock your doors and windows, notify your neighbors whenever you’re going away for more than a few hours, and pay attention to any suspicious activity going on in your neighborhood.
- Be careful with lighting, candles, and decoration — Towards the end of the year, homeowners bring up all their holiday decorations from the basement. Candles are lit, specialty lights are turned on, and electronics are plugged in. All that is fine, but you need to be careful throughout. To help reduce the risk of fire around your house, use flame-retardant and non-flammable decorations, keep lit candles at least a foot away from anything that is flammable, and be careful with electrical issues.
- Protect your pipes — Exposed pipes are very susceptible to freezing and could cause all sorts of serious issues around your home, as well as forcing you to file a costly claim. Make sure your home is properly insulated and that your home’s temperature doesn’t drop significantly to avoid frozen pipes.
If anything does happen, however, and you have to file a home insurance claim, you need to know what to do next in order to put the situation behind you and move on. Here are some important steps for filing a major home insurance claim:
- Contact your insurance company right away.
- Meet with the claims department.
- Do what you can to salvage undamaged items or whatever is left over.
- Find a temporary place to stay if your current home in unlivable.
- Submit a list of your stolen, damaged, or destroyed items.
- Get an estimate for the total cost of replacement and repair work.