It may come in the form of a flood, fire, tornado or hailstorm, but when nature strikes, it can damage anything in its path. From shattered windows to hail-pelted rooftops, millions of homeowner’s insurance claims are filed in the U.S. every year. Around 85% of homeowners in the U.S. have homeowner’s insurance policies, data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) indicates.

Homeowners insurance exists as a financial safety net for your home and personal belongings. In the event of property damage, filing a homeowner’s insurance claim as quickly as possible is key in receiving a smooth claims process. Waiting to report the claim could lead to disputes from your insurance company and require additional evidence of damage. But when you do file your claim, make sure you’re prepared.

When disaster hits, documenting the damage to your property may be the last thing on your mind, but it’s an important step to take to ensure you receive a fair settlement for your insurance claim. Without proper documentation, you may not be compensated for items that were damaged or destroyed in the disaster.

Here are some tips for preparing for a homeowners insurance claim:

TAKE PHOTOS

Walk around your property and assess everything that has been damaged, snapping photos from multiple angles. Make sure the lighting is good, and don’t be afraid to take too many pictures, even if you’re not sure your policy covers the item. It’s better to be over prepared than underprepared.

MAKE LIST OF DAMAGED OR LOST ITEMS

If any of your personal items were damaged or destroyed, jot them down. Photos of certain items pre-damage can also help prove they were in good condition before filing the claim, and receipts or bank statements can help prove the value of high-value items. Having a home inventory list prepared ahead of time can be beneficial in future insurance claims.

DOCUMENT DEBRIS REMOVAL AND TEMPORARY REPAIRS

In some cases, temporary repairs and debris removal are necessary for the safety of the home’s occupants, but they can also erase some evidence of the damage you’ve experienced. Take photos from a safe distance ahead of repairs and note any information that can’t be photographed. Continue documenting throughout the process and after initial cleanup has been completed.

DOCUMENT CONVERSATIONS WITH INSURANCE COMPANY

Save any written correspondence between you and your insurance company, and take notes of topics of discussion throughout the claims process. The claims process can be long, and having documentation of past conversations can help keep things from slipping through the cracks.

HIRE A PUBLIC INSURANCE ADJUSTER

Hiring a public adjuster can help ease the burden of the claims process. Navigating the intricacies of the claims process while aiming for the optimal settlement outcome can be overwhelming for the average homeowner. Whether it’s a hail damage insurance claim in Michigan, a water damage insurance claim in Wisconsin or a roof damage insurance claim in South Dakota, K-Factor Advocates is a public insurance adjuster in Michigan with experience handling an assortment of claims in multiple states.

ABOUT OUR TEAM

If you’re looking for a public adjuster in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan or northern Wisconsin, K-Factor Advocates has a skilled team of professionals that specialize in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. The K-Factor team has helped hundreds of clients navigate the challenges of the claims process, securing fair settlements in order to restore their property damage.