Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Submit an Insurance Claim


When Not to File a Claim

Many homeowners can go years without filing an insurance claim. I did until the winter of my...OK, let's not go there again. Others, though, file multiple claims. You know who you are, and the insurance company knows, too.

Filing a claim, even when a disaster strikes, might cause your premiums to increase. Worse, too many claims in a certain period, could force the insurance company to cancel your policy. So, keep in mind that some claims are not worth filing. Experts say to avoid making a claim unless it is three times the size of your deductible. If you have too many small claims, an insurance company is likely to conclude that you're using them to pay for minor repairs. Can you say cancelled? [source: Smith].

Other experts say don't file a claim for anything under $3,000 in damage. Why? Let's say you have a $500 deductible. And let's say you put in a claim for $2,500. As result, your premium increases $500 a year for three years. That means you're paying the insurance company $1,500 to recover only $500. If you need the cash right away, go to the bank and take out the loan. You'll probably be paying less in interest if you were to file a claim and your insurance increased [source: Filisko].

Denied! There's a word no homeowner wants to hear, but if the carrier denies your claim, many states require them to tell you why. Carefully read the paperwork they send you. Adjustors can make mistakes, or interpret the language of a policy too broadly. If you're still having problems, and believe you were unfairly denied compensation, file a complaint with your state's department of insurance. Also, consider hiring an attorney [source: Filisko]. You can also hire an independent claims adjustor who will inspect the damage just like an insurance adjustor. Many insurance companies will pay the adjustor's fee [source: Smith].

Read your policy and I'll read mine.


More to Explore