What to Do When Your Home is Damaged: A Step-by-Step Guide to Filing a Home Insurance Claim

Your home is your castle, your refuge from the outside world, and one of your most significant investments.

Unfortunately, accidents happen, and your home can sustain damage from a variety of causes, such as natural disasters, fires, or plumbing issues. In these situations, filing a home insurance claim is often necessary to receive compensation for the damage.

In this blog, we will provide a step-by-step guide to filing a home insurance claim so that you can get back to enjoying your home as soon as possible.

Assess the Damage

The first step after your home has been damaged is to assess the extent of the damage. Walk through your home and make a detailed list of all the damage you can see.

As you check for damages, depending on whether you are comfortable making repairs, you may already think to make plans for temporary repairs.

Before you get started or call a company to complete some repair work, CALL YOUR INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENT FIRST!

Take photos or videos of the degree of damage and keep them as evidence for your homeowners insurance claim.

It is also a good idea to contact a professional restoration company to assess whether it is minor damage or costly damage.

Only work with licensed contractors.

They will  help provide damage estimates for repairs.

This can be helpful when filing your insurance claim.

Review Your Insurance Policy

Before filing a homeowners insurance claim, it is important to review your insurance policy to understand what is covered and what is not.

Take note of your coverage limits, deductibles, and any exclusions that may apply. Understanding your policy can help you avoid surprises later in the process.

Inform Your Homeowners Insurance Company

Once you have assessed the damage and reviewed your policy, it’s time to contact your insurance company.

You can usually find the contact information for your insurance company on your policy documents or their website.

Homeowners insurance companies want you to be prepared to provide the following information when you call:

  • Your homeowners policy number
  • The date the damage occurred
  • A description of the damage
  • Your contact information
  • Any photos or videos of the damage

Your insurance company will likely assign a claims insurance adjuster to your case.

The adjuster will contact you to schedule an inspection of the property damage and assess the cost of repairs.

Document Everything

Throughout the claims process, it is important to keep detailed records of all communication with your insurance company. Keep a log of all phone calls, emails, and letters.

Take notes of the names and contact information of everyone you speak with.

This can help you stay organized and ensure that all parties are on the same page.

Meet with the Claims Adjuster

The claims insurance adjuster assigned to your case will contact you to schedule an inspection of the damage.

It is important to be present during the inspection to ensure that all damage is accounted for.

Be sure to provide the adjuster with any documentation or estimates you have received from professional restoration companies.

The adjuster will assess the cost of repairs and determine whether the damage is covered by your policy. If the damage is covered, the adjuster will provide you with an estimate of the cost of

The Claim Process

After the inspection, you will need to file the claim with your insurance company.

This claims filing process typically involves filling out claim forms and submitting it along with any supporting documentation, such as photos, videos, or estimates.

Be sure to submit the claim as soon as possible to avoid any delays in the claim process.

Review the Settlement Offer

Once your claim has been submitted, your insurance company will review it and provide you with a settlement offer.

This offer will outline the amount of money the insurance company is willing to pay to cover the cost of repairs.

It is important to review the offer carefully and make sure that it covers all of the damage.

If you feel that the settlement offer is inadequate, you can negotiate with your insurance company.

Provide any additional documentation or estimates that support your claim, and explain why you believe the settlement offer should be higher.

Pay Your Deductible

One important aspect of home insurance is the deductible to repair, which is the amount of money that you as the homeowner are responsible for paying before the insurance coverage kicks in.

The deductible is essentially your share of the risk and it helps to reduce the cost of insurance premiums.

 For example, if your homeowners insurance policy has a $1,000 deductible and you experience $10,000 worth of damages from a covered event such as a fire, you would be responsible for paying the first $1,000 and the insurance company would cover the remaining $9,000 of the costly repairs.

It’s important to note that the deductible only needs to be paid once per claim, regardless of the number of damages or losses incurred.

This means if you experience multiple damages or losses from the same event, such as a hailstorm, they would only need to pay the deductible once.

However, if you experience damages or losses from multiple events, such as a hailstorm and a flood, you would need to pay the deductible for each separate claim.

Homeowners should also be aware that the amount of the deductible can affect their insurance premiums.

Generally, the higher the deductible, the lower the insurance premiums, but this also means that you will be responsible for a larger portion of the costs in the event of a claim.

Carefully consider your financial situation and risk tolerance when choosing a deductible amount.

Complete Repairs

After the settlement offer has been agreed upon, you can begin the repair process.

You will usually be required to use approved contractors for repairs, and you should keep all receipts and documentation of repairs for your records.

Once the repairs are complete, submit any remaining documentation to your insurance company.

This will help them close out your claim and ensure that you receive any money owed to you in a timely manner.

Always Talk to Your Independent Insurance Agent

If you file a claim and it is not accepted, it means that your insurance company has determined that the damage is not covered by your policy.

This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as if the damage is caused by an excluded peril or if the cost of repairs is less than your deductible.

If your claim is denied, you will not receive any compensation from your insurance company, and you will be responsible for paying for the repairs out of pocket.

Additionally, having a denied claim on your record can potentially impact your future ability to get insurance or result in higher premiums.

It is important to review your policy carefully and understand what is covered before filing a claim, and to discuss any questions or concerns with your insurance agent.

Before you start repairing the damage to your home, it is important to discuss your options with your independent insurance agent.

Your agent can help you understand your policy and make sure that you are following the correct procedures when filing a claim.

They can also provide guidance on selecting a reputable restoration company and make sure that the settlement offer is fair and covers all of the damage.

Keep in mind that your independent insurance agent is there to help you navigate the claims process and ensure that you receive the coverage you are entitled to.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you have any questions or concerns.


When it comes to protecting your home, it is important to choose an insurance provider that you can trust.

At Watley Insurance Group in the Ark-La-Tex area, we specialize in providing comprehensive coverage that meets the unique needs of our clients.

Our experienced agents can help you understand your policy, file a claim, and navigate the claims process to ensure that you receive the coverage you are entitled to.

We also work with a variety of reputable restoration companies to help you get your home back to its pre-damage condition as soon as possible. Contact us today to learn more about our home insurance options and how we can help you protect your most valuable asset.

Wayne F. Watley, Jr.

Agency Principal, proud husband & father, and jazz enthusiast.