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Filing a homeowners insurance claim can be stressful, but the process of getting an insurance claim check doesn’t have to be.
After you file a homeowners insurance claim, you’ll have to follow a few steps before you get a payout. Learn more about insurance claim checks. (Shutterstock)
When disaster strikes, such as a fire or burglary, you’ll want to file a homeowners insurance claim with your insurance provider. If your carrier approves the claim, your agent will write a check for the loss. You may receive multiple checks for a single claim, or checks might go out to different people, depending on the incident and your insurer.
Here’s what you need to know about homeowners insurance claim checks.
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- How to claim your insurance check
- How long does it normally take to get an insurance check?
- Can you cash an insurance claim check?
- Can your mortgage lender keep your insurance claim check?
How to claim your insurance check
Before you get any funds to help repair or rebuild your home, you’ll need to do a few things. Follow these steps to claim your insurance check:
1. Contact your insurance provider to file a claim
The first thing you must do when filing a claim is contact your insurance provider to report the damage and initiate the claim process. You’ll need to provide your name, contact information, the date of the loss, and details about the loss, including any injuries. Most insurers require you to file a claim within one year of the date of the incident.
Your insurer will likely suggest you document the damages and may schedule a claims adjuster to inspect your home.
2. Make temporary repairs if necessary
Mitigating further damage is key, so if the damage to your home could worsen over time (like a leak), take steps to temporarily repair it. Save your receipts if you have to purchase anything for these small repairs — your insurance carrier may reimburse you for the costs.
While temporary repairs are important, don’t make any permanent repairs to your home until after the claims adjuster inspects it. If you make any permanent changes before then, your insurer may not cover them.
3. Submit documentation
It’s important to take photos, videos, and detailed notes about the damage from the event. Reference your home inventory, if you have one. If not, look for pictures of the damaged areas to remind you of everything you need to replace. Your insurer will use this documentation to evaluate your claim.
4. Meet with the claims adjuster
A claims adjuster may need to visit your home to inspect the damage. You may complete a “proof of loss” form at this time, which is a formal statement about the loss. Your insurer will either approve or deny your claim based on the adjuster’s evaluation and your documentation. Keep in mind that you might need to send additional evidence if your insurer denies your claim. You can also hire a public adjuster or an insurance attorney to help prove the legitimacy of your claim.
5. Receive a check if your claim is approved
You may receive an advance check against the settlement amount. This may or may not be the final payment. If you find more damage later on, you can typically reopen the claim and file for an additional amount. If a covered event damages both your home’s structure and your personal property, you’ll likely receive two separate checks from your insurer. If you have to relocate, you may also get a check for additional living expenses.
If you have a replacement cost insurance policy for your personal belongings, you typically must replace the items before your insurance carrier will reimburse you.
WHAT’S THE AVERAGE COST OF HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE?
How long does it normally take to get an insurance check?
Every insurer is different, so payout times to resolve a claim may vary. If the claim is complex or extensive, or caused by a natural disaster, it may take longer to get your check. The adjuster’s inspection can often determine the time needed to settle a claim. This also varies by state. For example, in Texas, once an insurance provider agrees to pay your claim, it must do so within five business days.
Remember, you may get more than one check. The first one is typically based on the estimated cost of repairs, minus your deductible and depreciation. The second one typically comes after your insurer receives the contractor’s bill for the completed job.
You can generally expect to receive the initial check for your claim either on the spot or soon afterward, according to Travelers Insurance.
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Can you cash an insurance claim check?
If the claim check is made out to you alone, you can cash it. If you have a mortgage on your home, your insurer will likely make the check out to you and your mortgage lender. That means that everyone listed on the check must endorse the check before it can be cashed. This serves as protection for your lender, so it can ensure that you get the necessary repairs.
HOW MUCH HOME INSURANCE DO I NEED?
Can your mortgage lender keep your insurance claim check?
In some cases, your lender may put the money from your insurance provider in an escrow account. In this situation, your lender will pay for work as it’s completed. You’ll likely need to show your mortgage lender your contractor’s bid in order to get upfront funds, and your lender may wish to inspect your home before making the final payment to the contractor.
If a covered event destroys your home, the amount of the settlement and who gets the check depends on your policy type, its limits, and the terms of your mortgage. A portion of the funds may go toward paying off your mortgage. But you can typically allocate the rest of the funds yourself.
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