Claiming homeowners insurance: when to do it and when to pay out of pocket

If your insurance claim will cost you less than the deduction, do not file it.

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Every year, many people whose homes are damaged by storms begin the sometimes confusing process of applying for insurance. Consumer Reports provides tips that can help you with this process.


If the damage to your home or property is severe, Consumer Reports says you will need to decide if you should take the matter seriously.

“In most cases, you should not file a claim for any damages that are less expensive than the deductible, but that is different from the water damage,” said Tobie Stanger, Home Consumer Reports Editor.

This is because what appears to be a minor problem may indicate a large, expensive mess hiding inside the walls or ceiling.

As you assess the situation, it is also important to document the damage. Use your smartphone to take pictures and videos. This will help you make a list of things that are damaged or in need of repair.

If you need immediate repairs, keep all receipts to include with your application.

Next comes a walkway with an insurance fixer to check for damage. This used to be a personal visit, but because of this epidemic, much will be the way to go, and some editors will welcome videos and photos you take with your smartphone.

In some cases, you will receive compensation that explains what your insurance company will pay. But what if that solution is inadequate? If you feel that the offer is not enough to cover all the damage, get another rating to show your insurance company.

If you are denied something, ask your insurance company why and remember, insurance claims take time, so keep all your paperwork in order.

If you have a very serious complaint, you may want to turn to a community counselor, someone who works for you and represents you during the process. But beware of costs. In some jurisdictions the cost of social repairs is limited, usually 10 to 12 percent of the insurance premium.

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