Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Submit an Insurance Claim

The first thing to do when a disaster strikes is to call your insurance carrier right away.
The first thing to do when a disaster strikes is to call your insurance carrier right away.
Lisa J. Goodman/Getty Images

It was more than my winter of discontent. The snow piled up, and piled up some more, and piled up some more after that. Geez, Louise, I've never seen so much snow, and I once lived near the Canadian border. The snow buried my Great Dane up to her boney armpits. The only escape to the driveway was a small path cut through the snow like a World War I trench, minus the rats.

Yes, it seemed like the winter of 2010-2011 would never end. The house, my old house, the house that I will probably haunt when I die, seemed to have weathered the weather with minimal problems. Oh sure, a chunk of ice ripped down my electrical service, and the skylight over the dining room (I like to call it the breakfast nook) table leaked like a broken radiator. Overall, the house, the animals and I survived.

Then the sun came out. March turned into April. The snow melted into daffodils. What a mess. The chimney looked like a drunken Michelangelo had taken a jackhammer to it. Squirrels ran away with roof shingles between their pointy jowls. Before I knew it, a few nor'easters, a hurricane and a couple of federal disaster declarations blew by. Trees came down. The washed-out driveway looked like the road to Tora Bora.

I called my insurance company. There was no reason why I should enjoy this damage alone. The good hands people were busy. The weather had been so bad in southern New England in 2011 that teams of adjustors traveled from Florida and Texas to help. Even though I pay handsomely for homeowners insurance, I was reluctant to make a claim. I didn't want my rates going up (they didn't) and I did not want the company to cancel me (they haven't -- yet). I filed three claims. The insurance company approved two. My batting average was better than A-Rod's.

I have to admit, filing each claim wasn't as stressful as I thought it would be, although arguing over the claim they denied was a bit taxing. I can only imagine what hurricane or tornado victims have to go through when they have to start rebuilding.