6 Tips for Filing a Natural Disaster Home Insurance Claim

Our Guest Poster Today:  Evette Champion

The thing about natural disasters is that no matter how much you plan, you can never truly be protected. From tornados, hurricanes, snow storms and wildfires, the last decade has unleashed some of the worst naturaldisasters the United States has ever seen, costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars in damages.

When a natural disaster strikes and your home is damaged, do you know how to file a natural disaster insurance claim? Probably not - who wants to think the worst can happen to them? Well, unfortunately should your home fall victim to a disaster, you’ll need to know how to file a claim so you can get repairs done as quickly as possible, especially if you’re hoping for a fast home sale.

Today, we’re going to share six tips that will help to make this sometimes confusing process a little bit easier.

1. Choose a policy that covers natural disaster risks in your area

When you’re looking into natural disaster insurance, you don’t want to get just anything! You need to look at your area and determine what disasters you're most at risk of experiencing. For example, you probably aren’t going to need flood insurance if you live in a desert. You aren’t going to need coverage for wildfires if you live in an area that experiences a lot of rainfall.

If you don’t know what type of natural disaster insurance you should get, consult an expert.

2. Have an inventory of your personal belongings

Okay, so this particular tip may sound laborious, and it can be if you have a lot of stuff, but trust us, it is going to be worth it when it comes time to file your claim. You can go around your home and record what you see. You’ll want to take a detailed inventory of your belongings and home, you should go through every room (and outside) and take note of your big ticket items like appliances, electronics, furniture, and etc. You’ll then want to put it on a spreadsheet listing the serial numbers, the item’s name brand and model! Bonus points if you have receipts.

3. Take photos and notes immediately after the disaster strikes

Before you start cleaning up the mess left in the disaster’s wake, document the damage much like you did in the previous step. As you’re going through your property assessing the damages, note the items that have been damaged. This documentation will be extremely helpful when you and your insurance agent tackles the claim.

4. Call your insurance company immediately

To avoid any processing delays, call your insurance company immediately - especially if it’s a huge disaster that affects a huge number of the population. The sooner you can get that claim in, the sooner your claim will be processed (hopefully) and the sooner you can start to rebuild and recover.

5. Save what items you can

Once you’ve consulted with your insurance agent and have created a plan regarding the next steps in the claims process, you can finally go through your home and salvage whatever you can. This means opening cabinets to air them out, removing any personal effects that weren’t damaged. If your home has been flooded, make sure you do everything you can to remove the water and get the place dry to avoid mold from forming - most insurance policies won’t cover mold damage.

6. Only hire-out work that your insurance company won’t cover

As much as you want to get the various repairs done in your home, you’ll want to hold off until the insurance company assesses the damage and comes to a settlement amount. Of course, while you can look for qualified contractors with high approval ratings so you can begin repairs as soon as you get a settlement. Just be aware that insurance companies are going to be more inundated with claims the longer you wait.

Natural disaster insurance claims can be the light after the storm

No one wants to think of the worst case scenario, but you have to - especially when it comes to your home and possessions. It’s a huge investment! Natural disaster insurance policies can be the saving grace that’ll help you and your family begin the long road to recovering from the disaster. Yes, the claim may not be able to replace sentimental items, but it can at least repair or replace some of the items you’ve lost.

About the Author:  Evette Champion

For the past year, Evette has been writing informative articles for HomeLight.com and enjoys educating new home buyers about the world of real estate. She's an avid fan of the home improvement shows on HGTV and the DIY network and is always looking for affordable ways to improve her home - especially when it comes to boosting curb appeal without breaking the bank! Her ultimate goal is to find a forever home in the Poconos where she, her husband, and miniature pinscher pup can enjoy nature and go hiking.