Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Mar 15, 2022

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Just What's Essential

  • The first step in filing a claim with your home insurance company is reaching out to your insurance provider to make sure the necessary repairs will be covered by your policy
  • If you have a high deductible or if the damage is minimal, it may be wise to make the repairs out-of-pocket rather than filing a claim and causing your home insurance rates to increase
  • You will probably receive a check from your insurance company 15 to 30 days after filing a claim

If you’ve recently had to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance policy, you may be wondering what the home insurance claim process looks like. The process to file a claim with your home insurance is fairly straightforward, though you may have some specific questions depending on the nature of your claim.

Much like car insurance, it’s important to have a home insurance policy with a company you can trust to help you when you need it. If you’re ready to shop around for home insurance with a new company, keep in mind that you may be able to find cheaper rates when you compare multiple home insurance quotes at once.

How do I file a claim with my home insurance?

If you’ve experienced a fire, theft, or other unfortunate events in your home, it’s important that you contact your insurance company as quickly as possible. Doing so will help you figure out whether the event is covered by your insurance policy, and it will help you get a check to cover any necessary repairs as soon as possible.

There are typically four major steps involved with filing a home insurance claim. Those steps are as follows:

  1. File a police report: You may not need to file a police report if your home was damaged by something like inclement weather, but if your home was vandalized or if items from your home were stolen, you will need to file a report with your local police department.
  2. Notify your insurance company: The sooner you can notify your insurance company of the damage, the better. You may be able to file a claim online. You can check the requirements associated with your policy for more information. Some insurance companies may have you include images and a copy of the police report.
  3. Make any necessary repairs: You may be able to wait for your home insurance to cut you a check before you start repairing your home. But if there are certain repairs that need to be handled immediately, be sure to keep copies of all receipts to be reimbursed by your insurance company at a later date.
  4. Make a note of the specifics: Compile a list of everything that was damaged or stolen, and take extensive pictures. If you have to make immediate repairs, take pictures of the areas before and after the repairs to document those changes. An appraiser will view and assess your case and decide how much money you should receive. You should be with the appraiser to point out any damages or concerns during this process.

Sometimes, the hardest part about filing an insurance claim is waiting to hear from the company about your final settlement. But if you document everything and accompany the appraiser, that’s a great way to make sure you end up getting what you need for repairs.

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When do I need to file a claim with my home insurance policy?

If your home has been damaged and is in need of repairs, you will need to decide first and foremost whether you want to make a claim with your insurance company. In some instances, making the necessary repairs to your home can cost less than your deductible. If this is the case for you, it’s a good idea to avoid making a claim.

In most cases, making a claim with your home insurance policy will cause your insurance rates to increase. In some instances, you could even lose coverage on your home altogether. Because insurance companies keep track of claims you make on a shared database, you may find that subsequent insurance companies are unwilling to cover you or will only cover you after a significant rate increase.

You may be questioning whether it’s a good idea to file a claim with your insurance company. You can always reach out to an agent or representative with your home insurance company to see if it’s necessary that you file a claim. This is unlikely to make your insurance rates increase.

When will I receive a check for my claim?

If you decide to file a claim with your home insurance company, it can take anywhere from 15 to 30 days after your insurance appraiser has decided on a settlement. In that time, you should keep track of any repairs you’ve completed and how much they cost.

There are chances your check could take more than 30 days to get to you, but you should receive some sort of communication from your insurance company during that time. If you have homeowners insurance claim check questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your insurance company for clarification.

Should I change home insurance companies?

The two main reasons people change insurance companies are cost and coverage. If you are happy with your home insurance company, and if your rates are affordable, you may not need to consider changing providers. But if you think you might be paying too much for coverage, it’s a good idea to shop around for a new home insurance company.

Most home insurance rates are decided based on several factors, including:

  • Where you live
  • How much it would cost to rebuild your home
  • How much coverage you want
  • The age and condition of your home
  • Security features in your home
  • Your credit history
  • Whether you own a dog
  • Your deductible

Finding affordable home insurance is a lot like finding affordable car insurance. When you shop around for home insurance coverage, you may be surprised to find that there are plenty of companies that are able to offer you more competitive rates.