We purchase home insurance in the event the unimaginable happens. Often times it is not until after a loss has occurred that we realize our premiums have not bought the peace of mind we thought we had.
Claims can be denied or delayed for countless reasons by the insurer. Homeowners can take these steps to protect themselves before a loss to ensure their claim is processed quickly and fairly as possible:
- Insurance Application – do not make misrepresentations when applying for insurance. If the property will not be your primary residence, do not tell the insurer it will be. If tenants will occupy the property or a business will be operating from the property, then tell the insurer accordingly.
- Coverage – inadequate policy coverage is a common reason for lawsuits. Consider an appraisal to value the cost of a complete rebuild of the property to ensure you have enough insurance to cover your loss.
- Photograph the Property and Contents – go through the property and room by room photograph and document all your items. There is nothing more overwhelming after a loss then trying to remember each item that needs to be replaced. These photographs will be invaluable.
- Review the Policy – after the insurance is in place, read the policy and ensure you have the coverage you applied for. Read the exclusions to know what losses are not covered.
- Update the Insurer – if your circumstances change during the policy term, the insurer must be updated. Common reasons to update your insurer include if you start renting your property, you start operating a business at the property, major renovations are completed, or the property is left vacant for an extended period of time.