When (and When Not) to File a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim
Knowing when and when not to file an insurance claim is one of the tricks of the trade for someone trying to manage the costs of damage to one’s property or house. Every insurance agency has different regulations for what makes a valid claim, as well as for what policy modifications are necessary after a claim has been made. Often, insurance rates are raised. Based on the circumstances of the claim and of a homeowner’s claim history, policies can even be cancelled and a client can earn a reputation in the field that makes other providers refuse them or offer unaffordable policies. Therefore, it is helpful to know generally when and when NOT to file a claim for property damage.
Don’t file a claim…
- If you can handle paying for the damages yourself because
the cost to repair damage is only a few hundred dollars more than your deductible (some will recommend that you choose the highest deductible rate as you can handle).
- If it would make your second claim in the past 3 years, or the 3rd or 4th claim in the past 10 years.
- If the event causing damage or the item damaged is not covered by the policy. (It could still be written down in your history as a claim.)
- If the damage should have been reported and claimed sooner, and has only gotten worse since then. Providers will be reluctant to pay for it it.
File a claim…
- When your property has suffered major damage.
- When the cost of repairing damage is far beyond your means.
- When the last time you filed a claim it was because the cause of the damage was different from the present cause of damage (ex.: it was burglary before and now it’s weather)
- As soon as possible after damage has occurred to keep your property insurance-worthy. Again, insurance providers will be reluctant to cover damage if damages have been steadily getting worse over the years (ex.: mold, rot).
- When the damage was done by weather or other similar catastrophes (most insurers don’t raise rates for those types of claims).
If you are still unsure about when it is best to file a claim, look for help! Your policy is a good place to start, although you may need some help interpreting what it means. You can always contact our offices for guidance. We offer two convenient locations: Bieritz Insura
nce Agency in Cooperstown, NY and Morris Insurance Agency in Morris, NY, and we pride ourselves on great customer service.