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Insurance Claims Definition: Help With Your Claim

What Is an Insurance Claim and What Happens After I File an Insurance Claim to the Insurance Company?

An insurance claim is when you have a loss or sustain damage that is caused by a peril insured by your insurance policy. Your insurance policy provides coverage and compensation to your for covered losses or the damages you sustain by way of you making a claim.

Common Insurance Claims Terms Including Understanding Deductible and Actual Loss

Some important terms that may help you understand aspects of your claim are:what is a deductible, what is the amount of your deductible and whether it applies to your loss (sometimes a deductible is waived), and what is your actual loss.

If you are wondering where you can see what the basic coverage you have is, then the declaration page of your insurance policy is where you will find this info.

Knowing more about the insurance claim, how companies handle the insurance claim and the methods to file insurance claims can take the worry and guesswork out of the insurance claim process and empower you to get the money you deserve in a claim settlement.

Below you can find links to extensive information to help you with a variety of insurance claims and questions, we've organized them by claim type so you can skip to the section you need to have information on right away.

Insurance Claim Resources for Home and Contents Insurance

Depending on the type of insurance claim you are making, the process will be different. Home insurance and personal property insurance claims will involve meeting with adjusters, getting approvals for estimates, making repairs, or replacing items.

Each of these steps can be frustrating and confusing if you don't know what to expect.

Unfortunately, in the industry, there is often miscommunication when you are trying to get the information you need from your insurance company during a claim. Our article, 10 Steps: How Major Disaster Home Insurance Claims Work will help you understand some of the key steps when you have a major claim in your home or residence.

The other aspect to claims is how a claim will be paid. Have you ever been in a claims situation, or heard others talking about how much they got paid in a claim. Our initial reaction is to think if one person got paid more than another it is because they have a better insurance company, but this is wrong. The first thing that determines how much money you will get in a claim is the type of coverage you chose when you purchased your policy. Our article on choosing the best home, condo or renter insurance covers all the options in your residential insurance policy.

If you have questions about what will be paid for your contents or personal property, these two resources will help:

  • Your Personal Belongings: Understanding What Home Contents Insurance Covers
  • What are the special limits on personal contents

Both of these articles apply to any person making a contents or personal property insurance claim, this could be related to the contents portion of your home insurance claim, or when you make a claim as a renter.

If you have additional structures on your property, this article can help you understand what part of your policy will cover your claim for outbuildings, and other structures.

Basis of Loss Settlement: How Will a Claim be Paid?

Homeowner insurance offers several types of coverage.

The one you have will have a significant impact on how much you get paid in a claim. Learn about choosing the best home insurance and coverages so you get the most money in a claim.

Actual Cash Value Settlements

People who have an actual cash value basis of claims settlement will not receive enough money in a claim to replace the items they have lost. If your contents or building are insured on an actual cash value basis, then you will only get the depreciated value at the time of loss.

As a basic example, think of it like this: Your TV set is a few years old, even though you paid $1000 for it, the actual cash value of it today (the depreciated value, think "price at a garage sale") would likely be $500 at best if it's still a relatively new model and in good shape. That's actual cash value.

So in a claim, if your building and contents were only insured for actual cash value you are going to be in a very difficult position because you will not receive enough money to replace what you have lost.

Replacement Cost Settlements

Replacement Cost settlements and the basis of claims payment are far more reasonable than the actual cash value settlement. Replacement cost basis of claims payments will help you get back into the situation you were in before your loss or disaster by providing coverage for repairing or replacing the items insured as long as you had enough coverage at the time of loss to cover the costs. This is a lot better than getting a handful of cash and having to go out and spend weeks "garage sale shopping" to try and get everything back, isn't it?

The Catch With Replacement Cost Settlements: When Do You Get The Money?

The catch with replacement cot settlements is that your insurance company may have the choice to only pay partial payments until you have replaced the item. Sometimes you may find yourself getting a check for half of what you need, once you replace the item, the company can then reimburse the additional expenses. In other cases, insurance companies may choose to send you to specific stores that you come to an agreement about, and have you get your items there and in some cases this avoids you having to put the money out up front. Every company is different so ask your insurance representative what can be done. In major disaster claims, insurance companies have also been known to make things easier and may just provide you with the cheque or a lump sum payment to get you started with essentials because especially in times of disaster, claims can take time and insurers can be reasonable when needed if you maintain good communication.

What If Your Home or Building is Underinsured in a Claim?

There is an alarming number of underinsured property in the U.S. If you would like to know more about building values and the issues around underinsurance, you can check out this article about how the building value is determined or what to expect when you have to do reconstruction after a claim.

Preparing and Filing Your Homeowners Insurance Claim

Filing a claim can be short or more involved depending on how small or large of a claim you need to file. Here are some helpful guidelines that will hopefully keep your homeowners insurance claim filing process hassle free.

How To Prepare Your Insurance Claim When Forced to Evacuate Your Home
When forced to evacuate your home due to a disaster the first concern for every family is to make sure everyone is safe. Worrying about property damage is second but it is important to think about how you will file your insurance claim if you don't have access to your home.

How to Hire a Contractor for Your Insurance Claim
When it comes time to file your homeowners insurance claim, it is important to find a fair and reputable contractor. Unfortunately, there are contractors that prey on people?s fears and anxiety of what has just happened. While many of these people are honest and reputable, some are not.

Insurance Claims for Condo Owners: What You Need to Know

Condo and co-op owners require special kinds of insurance to address their specific situation. To get help in understanding your insurance coverage in a claim if you are a condo owner or co-op owner, you can check out this article which covers the various coverages for condominium owners and will help you understand how they apply to you in a claim: Condo and Co-Op Essential Insurance Coverage Guide.

Understanding Condo Association Claim Coverage vs Your Condo Insurance Claim Coverage

In addition to the essential coverage overview for condo and co-op owners in the link above which goes over the differences between the association coverage and your coverage in a claim and who pays what,, the article about understanding loss assessment coverage for claims will help you understand what is covered for you as a condo owner when there is a loss assessment and how it works.

Insurance Claim Resources for Car Insurance: Help With an Auto Claim

5 Steps to Filing Your Auto Insurance Claim
Five basic steps in filing your auto insurance claim from deciding if you should file to expecting the call from the insurance company, learn what steps you need to take to file a successful auto insurance claim:

Insurance Claim Help for Life and Health Insurance Claims

Finding a Lost Life Insurance Policy
After a loved one dies, filing the life insurance claim can be confusing and difficult, what is worse is if you are the beneficiary and can't find the policy, or if you don't know if there even was one. Our article on finding a lost life insurance policy will give you the resources you need, you can access it using the link above.

If You Have to File a Health Insurance Claim Form<
Sometimes, when you go to the doctor or other medical provider, you may be told that you have to submit your own insurance claim form. This means that the doctor or facility does not ask the health insurance company to pay for your bill and you must do so. If you have to file your own health insurance claim here are the steps you will need to take along with some helpful tips on submitting your insurance claim form.

Insurance Claim Problems: If You Think Your Claim is Being Handled Unfairly

Insurance Claim Problems? Possible Insurance Fraud? Know Your Rights
State insurance commissioners resolve thousands of complaints every year. Complaints vary from disputes with insurance companies about how one's insurance claim was handled to problems with the sale and service of an insurance policy. If you feel your insurance company has not been fair with your insurance claim or policy, you have the right to file a complaint with your state insurance commissioner.

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