Top Homeowners Insurance Claims
As a homeowner, you know there is always a chance of events beyond your control that can cause a loss to your home or property. You can hope for the best but prepare for the worst. The smartest way to prepare financially for potential home losses is through purchasing homeowners insurance coverage.
The basic coverage provided by homeowners insurance includes protection against common perils such as wind, hail, fire, and theft along with liability protection if someone is injured on your property. This is not a full list of coverage options. There are many optional homeowners insurance endorsements that can add coverage beyond the basic homeowner's insurance policy.
Once you have secured insurance coverage for your home, you can have some peace of mind that you are prepared for any possible losses. Losses to home and property can come in all forms, shapes, and sizes and occur because of natural disasters, theft, fire or other reasons. Here are some of the most common types of home damage claims filed by homeowners according to a report by The Travelers Companies.
Top Homeowners Insurance Claims
- Wind Damage: Wind damage accounts for 24% of homeowners insurance claims. This includes damage caused by high-velocity winds which can uproot trees, cause roof damage and damage the infrastructure of a home. Strong storms can produce heavy winds and cause damage to your home’s siding and shingles or cause a tree to fall on the roof of your home.
- Water Damage: Another top cause of home damage is caused by water. Damage caused by water is divided into two categories, non-weather water damage, and weather-related water damage. Non-weather related water damage makes up 20% of homeowners insurance claims and can include problems with sewer, plumbing pipes, drains and valves, appliances and water leaks. Weather-related water damage accounts for 11% of homeowners insurance claims. Common weather-related water damage claims can include roof damage, frozen pipes, torn siding, and other home damage. Temporary living expenses are also covered if you have to find other living arrangements while your home is being repaired. An important note concerning flood damage—flood damage is NOT covered by homeowners insurance. For flood coverage, you’ll need to purchase a flood insurance policy.
- Damage from Hail: Hail produced from strong storms can cause heavy damage to homes and property. Hail accounts for 16% of all homeowners insurance claims. Hail can measure anywhere from 0.2 inches to up to 8 inches in diameter. The type of hail that causes damage to homes is usually at least 0.75 inches in diameter. Large hailstones can wreak havoc on roofs and crack wood, concrete, clay, asphalt and other types of roofs. Hail can cause windows to break and damage home siding.
- Theft: Finishing last (but not least) in the causes of home insurance claims is theft. Theft break-ins account for 6% of all homeowners insurance claims. Losses from theft include both personal property losses and property damage that occurs during a break-in. Homeowners insurance covers theft of property both inside and outside your home and pays for repairs to your property that occurred during the theft. Homeowners policies vary in the type of theft coverage provided (actual cash value (ACV) or Replacement Cost Value (RCV).
Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim
If you’ve suffered a covered loss to your home or property, it is important to know the proper steps to take when filing a homeowners insurance claim. The first step is to contact your insurance company to get the process started. Your homeowner's policy documents should list the number to call in case of a claim. If you’ve been burglarized, you’ll need to contact the police and file a police report. You may have to provide a copy of the police report to the insurance company.
Photograph or video any damage if possible and then take any necessary steps to prevent further property damage, saving your receipts for any purchases made for temporary repairs. An insurance adjuster will visit your home or property to inspect the damage and determine how much the insurance company will pay toward your claim. Ask any questions you have when the insurance adjustor visits or to the insurance company when initially reporting your claim.