Find out all you need to know about filing a claim on your homeowner’s insurance, such as what steps are involved in the process and which insurance companies are the best (and the worst) at handling claims.

When should I give a call to my homeowner’s insurance company?

No one ever plans on having to make a claim on their homeowner’s insurance policy.

In most cases, you won’t be required to report every little instance of loss or damage to your insurance company unless you’re also thinking of filing a claim for compensation. However, this might differ from one home insurer to another, so it is important that you examine the terms and conditions of your particular policy.

Any incident that has harmed the habitability or security of your property, damage that could indirectly lead to a future claim, or incidents in which a third party was involved will be considered an exception to this rule.

Even if you didn’t file a claim for a loss that would have been covered by your homeowner’s policy, some insurance companies will still question you about it when it comes time to renew your policy or buy a new one.

In this section, we will explain how to simplify a claim as much as feasible.

What steps should I take if I need to file a claim on my homeowner’s insurance?

1. Get yourself ready well in advance.

It is hard to forecast when you will need to file a claim unless you have the ability to see into the future. Nevertheless, there are actions that you can take to get yourself ready.

If any of your belongings are stolen or damaged, you will typically be required to provide documentation, such as a receipt. A number of Which? members have had their claims denied by their insurance because they did not provide sufficient evidence. When you make a significant purchase, you should always retain the receipt in a secure location and either photograph the item or take a picture of it with your phone.

It is essential that you maintain a high level of repair on your property at all times. Buildings insurance is something that homeowners’ insurance companies will provide, but only on the proviso that your house be properly maintained on a regular basis.

Especially in the event of damage to roofs caused by storms, claims are frequently denied if it is discovered that this was not the case. Maintain documentation showing that your roof has been examined at regular intervals, which should be done at least once every few years.

2. Give your insurance company a quick call.

Although many insurance companies will offer you up to 180 days to file a claim on your homeowner’s policy, it is in your best interest to get in touch with them as soon as possible.

It is in the best interest of insurance companies to settle significant claims as quickly as possible, particularly in the event of a flood or fire. You should file a claim as soon as possible because delaying it could make the harm worse, and you will want to get yourself back on your feet as soon as possible anyhow.

3. Do not get rid of broken objects immediately.

Do not get in the habit of tossing out things just because they are damaged; doing so after a natural disaster such as a fire or flood may be tempting. Keep all of your belongings until you are instructed otherwise by your homeowner’s insurance company; they will most likely want to conduct an investigation into what you have lost.

In the event that there is a flood, you should also refrain from redesigning, at least for the time being. It may take a long time for a property to completely dry out, and if you lift a damp carpet, you may notice that it has shrunk.

4. Take photos

When you make a claim on your homeowner’s insurance, your insurance company will ask you for a detailed account of what occurred, as well as supporting documentation. In the case that there is a disagreement, it may be beneficial to take photographs or make a brief video documenting the damage done to your property and its contents.

5. Seek the assistance of a loss assessor.

It might be nerve-wracking to go up against a home insurance provider in the event of a significant claim. In most cases, an insurer will dispatch a loss adjuster to your location in order to examine your property and make a determination regarding how your claim will proceed.

On the other hand, you could find it helpful to have someone working closely with you directly look over the claim as well.

If you purchased your homeowner’s insurance policy through a broker, you can contact that broker at any time for assistance. You also have the option, albeit at an additional cost, to hire a loss assessor, who is essentially a claims specialist who looks out for the best interests of the customer.

Should you file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance company?

Is it always going to be cheaper for you to make a claim? In the event that theft or damage to your property totals several thousand pounds, it is very obvious that you should file a claim on your homeowner’s insurance policy.

When it comes to costs of smaller value, on the other hand — costs for which it would not be financially difficult for you to pay for repairs or replacements on your own — you may decide that filing a claim is not worth the trouble.

When considering whether or not to file a claim, the following considerations need to be taken into account:

Will filing a claim on my homeowner’s insurance raise the premium that I pay?

Recent claims or events alter the insurer’s opinion of your degree of risk, and as a result, they may adjust your price so that it more accurately reflects the level of risk they perceive you to be exposed to. This can be a big factor in causing hesitancy on your part.

Regrettably, you won’t be able to find out in advance how much your premium for the subsequent renewal of your homeowner’s insurance would be.

In general, though, a minor, isolated incident, such as a broken or lost valuable, is less likely to lead to painful increases than something more serious or complex, such as a break-in or damage to the building itself. This is because a break-in or damage to the building itself are both considered to be more widespread events.

Be on the lookout for the deadline for renewal, regardless of whether you intend to submit a claim or not. If the cost of your homeowner’s insurance premium has recently increased, you may want to look into moving to a different carrier or to negotiate a better deal with the company that now insures your property.

Should I make an excess payment in order to claim?

In the event of a claim, excesses mark a threshold of what you are willing or compelled to pay for yourself out of pocket. This helps keep the cost of your homeowner’s insurance premium down.

Therefore, the closer the amount of the claim is to your policy’s excess, the less significant the advantage of making the claim will be.

Who are the house insurance companies that offer the finest claims service?

The manner in which your home insurance provider deals with claims presents the most important test of all. Which? conducted a poll on 1,831 insurance customers who had made a claim on their house insurance policy over the previous two years between the months of November and December 2020 to learn about their experiences making a claim. The table that follows displays their ratings in descending order.

As part of our overall ratings for customer satisfaction, we also evaluate insurance companies based on their procedures for handling customer complaints and assess how well they explain the claims process to their clientele.

How may I lodge a complaint regarding my claim?

Do not be hesitant to file a complaint with your homeowner’s insurance company if the outcome of your claim is not what you had anticipated or if you believe that you have been treated unfairly by the company.

Talk to your insurance provider first, but if that doesn’t help (and you’ve already gone through all of the steps in the complaints process that are specified in your policy document), call the Financial Ombudsman Service at 0300 123 9123 to take your complaint further.

Once you have reached an impasse with your insurance, you typically have a window of time of six months to file a complaint with the company. Because the decision of the FOS is binding on businesses but not on individual customers, you have the option to take your case to court if you so want.