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  • Craig Harrell

How to File a Home Insurance Claim

Updated: Apr 16

If you're a homeowner, you likely understand the importance of having home insurance. However, the process of filing a home insurance claim may seem complex and overwhelming. Don't worry! We want to help simplify the process for you and equip you with all the tips and tricks to make it as smooth as possible.

Understanding When to File a Claim

The first step is to understand when to file a claim. In general, homeowners should file a claim when the cost of repairs exceeds their insurance deductible. This could include incidents like major storm damage, theft, fire, or other covered perils.

Immediate Steps After the Damage

When you realize your home has suffered significant damage, it's crucial to take swift action:

  1. Ensure Safety First and foremost, ensure everyone's safety. If there's immediate danger (like a fire or gas leak), evacuate and call emergency services.

  2. Document the Damage As soon as it's safe, begin documenting the damage. Take pictures and videos of all affected areas. Be thorough; your documentation will be essential when filing your claim.

  3. Mitigate Further Damage You are responsible for preventing additional damage where possible. This could include putting up a tarp to stop a leak or boarding up windows after a storm.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

Once you've documented the damage and ensured safety, it's time to reach out to your insurance company. Most companies have a 24/7 claim reporting service. Provide them with all the necessary details about the incident and the extent of the damage. Your insurance provider will then assign a claim number and a claims adjuster to your case. The adjuster will investigate the claim, assess the damage, and determine how much the insurance company will pay for the loss.

Prepare Your Documentation

While waiting for the adjuster, prepare all the necessary documentation to support your claim:

  1. Photos and Videos Your visual documentation of the damage will help substantiate your claim.

  2. Inventory of Damaged Items Create a list of all damaged items, their estimated value, and replacement cost. If you have receipts or other proof of ownership and value, include those.

  3. A Detailed Account of the Incident Write down a comprehensive description of the event that caused the damage, including all the details you can remember.

Meet with the Claims Adjuster

During the meeting with the adjuster, you'll have the chance to present your documentation and walk them through the damage. Be as cooperative and detailed as possible.


Once the adjuster has completed their investigation, they'll present a settlement based on their estimate of the repair costs and the terms of your insurance policy. If you agree with their assessment, you can accept the offer. However, if you disagree with the adjuster's estimate, you have the right to contest it. You might consider hiring a public adjuster or attorney who specializes in insurance claims to help represent your interests (that's what we do!)

Tips and Tricks for a Smooth Claims Process

To ensure a smooth and efficient claims process, consider these tips:

  1. Understand Your Policy Before a disaster strikes, familiarize yourself with your insurance policy. Knowing what is covered and what's not will save you from unwelcome surprises.

  2. Keep an Updated Home Inventory Regularly updating your home inventory, including receipts and photos, will make the process much smoother if you ever need to file a claim.

  3. Maintain Good Communication Stay in touch with your insurance provider and be proactive in following up on your claim.

  4. Organize Your Documents Keep all claim-related documents organized and easily accessible.

  5. Consider Professional Help If your claim is significant, you may want to hire a public adjuster to ensure you're getting a fair assessment.

Navigate Your Claim with Harrell Adjusting Services

Filing a home insurance claim doesn't have to be an intimidating process. With a bit of preparation and a clear understanding of the procedure, you can navigate through it with confidence. Remember, home insurance is there to protect you and help you recover when disaster strikes, so don't hesitate to use it when you need it. Should you need some extra help with your claim or need someone to advocate for you, our team at Harrell Adjusting Services is here. Give us a call today to see how we can help you.



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