Post-Irene: How to file an insurance claim

Follow these 6 steps to get the benefits of your insurance coverage.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 29, 2011 10:41AM

This post comes from Amy Danise at partner site Insure.com.

 

Whether your loss from Hurricane Irene is minimal or significant, you want to be sure you receive the insurance compensation to which you're entitled. You also want to help speed along your own claim.

 

Here are tips for doing that:  Post continues after video.

  1. Document your damage. Take photos and start to make an inventory of your losses.
  2. Contact your insurance agent to start the claims process. Your agent will schedule an insurance adjuster to come evaluate your damage. Remember that large claims will take priority for the adjusters.
  3. If you don't know your agent's number, here's a list of insurance company claims-filing phone numbers from the Insurance Information Institute.
  4. Follow the insurance adjuster's instructions, which may include getting a detailed estimate for damage repair. Or your adjuster might recommend one of your insurer's preferred providers for repair, depending on the nature of your damage. You may be assigned more than one adjuster; for example, there may be an adjuster for structural damage and an adjuster for contents damage.
  5. If your home is uninhabitable, home insurance will cover your additional living expenses, such as hotel and restaurant bills. It's important to keep all receipts for those expenses.
  6. Continue to collect material to document your loss, including photos, receipts and your inventory of damaged items.

If you're facing a significant loss in your home, consider hiring a public insurance adjuster. These adjusters work for you, not the insurance company, and can help you sort out all the claims paperwork, work with the insurance company adjusters and speed up your claims process. Here's more on how to hire a public insurance adjuster.

 

More on Insure.com and MSN Money:

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

3Comments
Aug 29, 2011 3:08PM
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I bet our car insurance will go up on the West Coast, yep these leeches will stick there hands in everyone pocket and we will end up paying for these losses ......
Aug 29, 2011 4:34PM
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DO NOT HIRE AN ADJUSTER. We got burned they lied to us. We never got the money they said they were going to get us. Go straight to the insurance company. You will most likely have to pay an attorney upfront, adjusters take their cut off of your claim amount.. I SUGGEST, and this all depends on the claim, that you put in a HIGH claim amount. Fist get at least 3 estimates and add 10 percent.. Remember, your not lying to the insurance company... because during a disaster, it will never fail that it will cost more than what the estimates really came in at.. And beware, your insurance payments will go up AND you most likely will not get insured from other companies once you have filed a claim. Just my opinion.. I am still living through it!

Aug 29, 2011 3:17PM
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Hire an attorney, NOT a public adjuster. While it may seem like a way to save money, it's binding and you will end up with much less than you are entitled. I have seen so many good cases destroyed because of public adjusters. Hire one to create an independent estimate of damages, but do not allow them to settle your claim. By the time you discover the full extent of damages, it will be too late.
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