What you need to know when filing a homeowners claim

Contact: Jennifer Bowen
(334) 269-3550


Homeowners insurance is a type of property insurance that pays for losses and damages to your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, weather, theft, or another covered disaster. When those events happen, you’ll need to file a claim. 


Know when to file a claim. Before reporting the property damage to your home, find out what your deductible is. If the damage is minor, you might decide you’re better off paying for the repairs out of pocket. If you believe the damage will cost more than your deductible to repair, or there is a lot of damage, you may want to file a claim. 
If you decide to file a claim, it’s important to notify your insurance company right away. The amount of time you have to report your claim varies by state. 

Here are the steps you’ll need to take: 

- Make a list of all your damaged property. You’ll need this when you meet with your adjuster. 
- Take photos and videos of damage. 
- Contact your insurance company or agent with your policy number, name, address, and phone number. 
- You’ll need to explain what happened and describe the extent of the property damage. 


Take an inventory. Go through every room in your home; write down and take pictures or videos of everything in the room. Inventory everything, including valuable items such as antiques, electronics, jewelry, collectibles, and guns. 

Do this before a disaster strikes. The NAIC's free Home Inventory App will help you with the process. You can download it from the App Store and Google Play. It allows you to take pictures and document your items by room and category. 

If you don’t use the app, store your inventory in a secure place at another location, such as your workplace, a safe deposit box, a relative’s house, or online. 

- Review and update your inventory annually, including your pictures/videos. 
- Update your inventory when you buy new items.  
- Keep receipts with your inventory for all repairs and new items you buy for proof if you have to file a claim. Work from memory if your property was destroyed and you have no records. 
- Review photos (e.g., on your cell phone or from family or friends) taken inside your home. That may help you make the list.  
- Search online retailers to help estimate costs.