After you’ve weighed the pros and cons of filing a claim, spoken to your insurance broker, and filed the actual claim, your homeowners insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to gather evidence and assess the damage.
Preparing for this meeting can feel intimidating for honest, ethical homeowners who simply want to receive the payout needed to move forward.
The best strategy to prepare for this meeting is to document everything. By making the insurance adjuster’s job easier, you improve the odds of a successful outcome.
File Necessary Reports with the Police or Fire Department
If your claim involves a fire or theft, make sure that appropriate reports have been filed with your local law enforcement or fire department. Request copies of the reports. These documents will serve as important pieces of evidence for your insurance claim.
Take Clear Photographs of the Damage
Sometimes, property or debris sustains so much damage that items must be removed and discarded before the insurance adjuster visits. In that case, clear photos of the damage will be especially important. The insurance adjuster will examine the photos and include them in the report.
Before removing any debris, take well-lit, sharp (not blurry!) photos that show the damage referenced in the claim. Submit these photos to your insurance adjuster according to the provider’s instructions.
Make Temporary Repairs that Prevent Further Damage
As a homeowner, you have a responsibility to make sure that the damage caused by a covered event doesn’t get worse. For example, if a step on your wooden deck collapsed, block the broken stairs so that no one can use them or injure themselves while the claim is pending.
If you’ve taken clear photographs of the damage (see the previous step), you don’t have to worry about “messing up a scene.” Complete temporary repairs needed to ensure that you, your family, and visitors stay safe and to prevent further problems before the claim is addressed.
Create or Submit Your Home Inventory
When the insurance adjuster arrives, hand over a detailed list of items that were damaged, along with their value. A home inventory would suffice. If you don’t have one yet, learn how to create a home inventory here.
Keeping detailed information about your belongings and submitting it to the insurance adjuster will help you get a more accurate payout amount for your claim.
Gather All Documents and Receipts
Including receipts, photos and other documentation in your home inventory will make the claims process much easier. Along these lines, if property damage forces you to relocate temporarily, collect any receipts related to your living expenses. Place this information in a well-organized folder, along with any other documentation collected so far, and be prepared to share this with the insurance adjuster.
Showcase Evidence for Your Claim
During the actual meeting, focus on the event itself and the resulting damage. Your goal is to present the damage to the adjuster in person, supported by the evidence you’ve collected.
Make sure the insurance adjuster visits each section of damaged property during the meeting. Show him or her the documents you’ve collected. The insurance adjuster will use what you’ve provided to move your claim along to the next step in the process.