parents’ home was badly damaged in a fire. They’re now in the process of trying
to get everything fixed, but it has been a hassle trying to figure out who is
going to pay for what and when repairs can begin.
parents filed a claim through their homeowner’s insurance, but I’m not sure how
all of this works. I’d like to better understand the process so that I can help
them through it. Can you explain it?
homeowner’s insurance policy will cover claims related to loss of personal
property, property damage and some injuries that occur on the premises.
policies will cover fire damage as well as damage caused by vandalism, hail and
water damage from frozen pipes. Flood damage may or may not be covered, but
typically, you have to purchase separate insurance for this peril. Dollar
homeowner’s insurance should also cover:
of or damage to personal property. Typically, policies will pay the actual
value or the replacement cost of belongings covered by the policy. The
insurance company will require proof of ownership of these belongings as well
as their age and value.
and injuries that occur on the property. Most policies cover personal injury
claims up to the specified limit. This coverage is usually limited and
excludes: trespassers, family members living on the property, the homeowner,
minor or children in the homeowner’s care, and home-business related injuries.
liability portion of the policy will cover injury lawsuits, usually up to $100,000 per occurrence.
Now that you
have a better understanding of what homeowner’s insurance policies cover, you
can start looking into the process of making a claim.
your parents documented the damage from the fire. All of the damaged property
should be photographed before cleaning up the scene. These photos should have
been submitted as proof to defend your parents’ claim.
have already been in touch with the insurance company, and the agent should
have explained how to proceed. Recommendations for local repair services should
have also been given to your parents.
insurance companies will send insurance adjusters out to the property to
determine the cause as well as the total cost of the damage. Their assessment
will determine whether the insurance company will accept responsibility and how
much you will be reimbursed.
like your parents may be stuck at this stage. Has an insurance adjuster been to
the property to assess the damage yet? Repairs cannot proceed – or at least the
insurance company won’t pay for repairs – until after an adjuster has seen the
damage. Keep in mind that your parents will still have to pay the deductible
even if the insurance company pays out.
be complex, and the areas damaged may or may not be covered by the
policy. This is where things can get tricky.
situation is not unique. Dealing with the insurance company is a complicated
process that involves countless letters, calls, emails and document
submissions. Make sure that your parents are keeping record of all
communication and documents. They should also be taking notes of every phone
conversation and face-to-face meeting.
Law requires insurance companies to handle claims
in a timely manner, so be sure that your parents are holding them to this law.