The idea of returning home after a pleasant afternoon to see your coffee table floating away in your family room isn’t the best way to end the day, but it’s not unheard of among those who have experienced home flooding. But these random acts of mother nature, other unexpected accidents, and even theft do happen from time to time. That’s when to file an insurance claim for your home.
Not every situation is that obvious, though, so we’ve made a list of scenarios in which you should consider filing a home insurance claim.
When renewing your home insurance policy, it’s a good idea to go through a review with your insurance broker to ensure you understand exactly what your coverage limits are, and to confirm what you’re protected against.
But when these unexpected events occur, many of us aren’t quite sure when to file an insurance claim. Sometimes filing isn’t in your best interest, and you can always take advantage of claims counselling services to get some advice.
When to file an insurance claim for your home
There are certain situations where it’s smart to make a claim on your insurance policy, as long as the repair costs aren’t too close to the deductible. Review your policy carefully, but until you can read it, use these situations as a general guideline to understand when to file an insurance claim on your property.
- Substantial damage to your roof
- Substantial damage to your furniture and belongings
- Burst water pipes due to fast and severe weather changes
- Wind and hail damage ruin windows, walls, doors, or other standing structures
- Fire or lightning damage
- Property damage unrelated to theft
- Theft resulting in losses substantially beyond your deductible
- Injury on your premises resulting in liability-related legal fees
There are plenty of reasonable measures homeowners should take to prevent certain types of damage or loss, such as deterring thieves from targeting your home. For example, you don’t need to put prison bars on your windows to meet a reasonable expectation of security, but you should make sure that your ground-level windows are all locked before leaving for work every day.
When you might need extra coverage
Be aware that your home policy might not cover every eventuality by default. You may need to buy additional forms of coverage to protect yourself against scenarios like overland flooding or specific kinds of water damage.
Double-check your policy to see if it covers any of these types of damage:
- Specific kinds of water damage
- Sewer backup
- Overland flooding
- Theft for big-ticket items (especially scheduled items)
Even with these types of coverage, you’re still on the hook for maintaining your home to a reasonable standard. For example, read up on how to protect your home against flooding to make sure you did everything in your power to prevent it from happening before filing a claim for flood damage.
Since you’re probably taking reasonable measures to protect your home in the first place, we recommend looking at additional coverage to protect yourself for as many eventualities as possible in a cost-effective way.
When not to file an insurance claim for your home
There are situations where it won’t be in your best interest to file an insurance claim on your property. We provide claims counselling services to help you figure that out when it counts, but you can also use these points to guide your decision.
- Damages cost less than your deductible
- The deductible is only slightly more than the cost of repairs
- You’ve filed another claim in the last 7-10 years and this one isn’t serious
- Poor maintenance ended up being the cause of the damage
- The cause of the claim isn’t covered in your policy
As a general rule, repairs or replacements under $1,000 should probably be paid out of pocket, even if your deductible is a bit lower than that. That’s because the number of claims filed in a given area raises home insurance rates for everyone near you over time. Filing small claims doesn’t help you in the long run.
How to proceed with the claims process
1) Assess the damage
Safety first. Conduct a quick assessment of the damage and make sure there is nothing glaring that can make a bad situation worse. For example: if the power is still on in a flooded area, then take the required steps to prevent further damage while protecting yourself and your family from harm. If a situation calls for the police or other emergency services call 9-1-1 right away.
2) Document everything
Even better than pen and paper is the ability to photograph the evidence, which is easy now that we all have cameras handy on our smartphones these days. Do your best to take as many pictures as possible that will help tell the story of the occurrence.
3) Confirm your deductible and coverage
Knowing your deductible is typically the first question that will confirm whether or not it makes sense to file a claim. If you confirm that the value of your damage is less than what your deductible is, then it may not be in your best interest to make a claim to have it on your record. Also, before attempting to make a claim for water damage, you should confirm that you have the appropriate water damage protection on your policy to make sure your reported claim is covered.
Your broker may offer claims counselling, which is a great support to help guide you through the process and assist with your decision before officially filing your claim.
Get a 3-minute quote with us for now to see your rate with additional types of coverage available for your consideration. It’s that easy.