Filing an Orange County Homeowners Insurance Claim Preparation is one of the most important factors when filing a successful Orange County homeowners insurance claim. You don’t want to wait until disaster strikes to wonder how much insurance you have, how much was lost, and which items will be covered under your homeowners insurance policy. The first step is reading your policy to understand the responsibilities of both you and your homeowners insurance company in the event of a claim. Then you need to make a thorough inventory of your property to ensure you receive the settlement you deserve. The easiest and most effective way to document your home inventory is to use a video camera. You can include your name, address, date, and time of the video as well as provide commentary. Remember that you want to provide as much detail as possible when you file your Orange County homeowners insurance claim. Use your video camera to get both interior and exterior shots of your home. Start outside and record all sides of the house, including anything you’ve added to the property such as a pool, deck, or gazebo. Then move inside and record the contents of every room, taking time to document anything of value in all drawers, cabinets, and closets. After you’ve recorded everything, make sure to keep copies of the video safe outside of your house in a safe deposit box or in a relative’s home. In the event of a disaster, burglary, or other calamity, immediately call your Orange County homeowners insurance agent to alert him or her of any damages and/or losses. Your agent will tell you what steps you need to take based on your policy. Keep your insurance agent’s phone number and your policy number in your wallet for safekeeping in case you cannot get back in your home to retrieve this information. Now it’s time to take out the video camera again—this time to document the damage to the items you were so careful to record before the disaster. Shoot the same areas and comment on the damage so your Orange County homeowners insurance company can easily make a “before and after” comparison. You will also want to write down a detailed list of all items you suspect to be lost or damaged. Since you are responsible for preventing further damage, make as many temporary repairs as you can. This can include everything from throwing a tarp over a leaky roof to patching a broken window with cardboard. Do as much as possible to preserve your possessions, and 1
make sure you keep receipts for the supplies you use so you can be reimbursed for these expenses later. As tempting as it may be, do not start making permanent repairs until the insurance claim adjuster inspects your home. Once your Orange County homeowners insurance company has been notified of your claim, it is required to send you the necessary claim forms within a specified timeframe (which varies from state to state). You obviously want to be prompt in completing and returning the forms as soon as possible. After the insurance adjuster examines your home and sends his or her report to your homeowners insurance company, the company will contact you to agree on the terms of a settlement. Homeowners insurance claims are typically processed quickly, unless a severe natural disaster has affected a large area. In these instances, the homes with the most damage will likely be handled first. In any case, stay in close contact with your Orange County homeowners insurance company and see if your policy has “loss of use” coverage that covers living expenses if you can’t inhabit your home following the disaster or during repairs. When it’s finally time to hire a professional to make the repairs, make sure you get multiple bids. Your homeowners insurance company will be a great resource for trusted contractors who will help put your home back together. Learn more about Orange County homeowners insurance by visiting www.KellyWilliamsIns.com or calling 562.498.8661.