If you have to file a claim because something happens to your house, do you know what your duties and rights are? Here are some things to know.
First, be safe. Don’t stay in an unsafe dwelling. Then, call your agent or insurance company right away. Do what you can to protect the property from immediate additional damage, theft and so on. Talk to the insurance company about what you should do. Don’t dispose of damaged property until an adjuster confirms with you that you can do so.
Review your policy to confirm coverage and know your rights. Document everything to prevent confusion, and take pictures of all damage. Keep receipts for any emergency expenses such as repairs and temporary housing.
You will need to provide estimates of what was lost or destroyed, and typically do so within a certain number of days. Complete your insurer’s claim form and cooperate with the adjuster’s requests for documentation or to conduct damage inspection.
Of course, you have a right to be present for inspections, to get additional estimates and to negotiate the settlement with your insurer. You have the right to get everything in writing. When you assess the claim, include cost of materials, labor, and the value of items that you lost.
You have the right to dispute an insurance settlement. You can contact the Ohio Department of Insurance Consumer Services Division at 800-686-1526, for information on your rights and how to file a complaint.
We find most customers are very satisfied, even pleasantly surprised, with the outcome of a claim. Most claims are settled well and fairly. A good insurance company will work with you in a timely, professional manner, to your satisfaction. To keep the process moving , it pays to stay in regular contact with your claims adjuster.
The Ohio Department of Insurance (insurance.ohio.gov) publishes a complete guide to home insurance. In addition, your local independent insurance agent can advise you on your rights and obligations.