Can I repair damage to my home before my insurance company conducts an inspection?

UPDATED: May 7, 2012

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UPDATED: May 7, 2012Fact Checked

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Asked May 7, 2012

1 Answer

If your home is damaged by a covered peril, your first course of action is to document the damage. Once that is done, take any steps needs to provide emergency repairs to the home, such as covering broken windows or boarding over a damaged door. Once the damage is itemized and the risk of additional damaged reduced, call your insurance company and report the incident. Do not make any permanent repairs until an insurance adjuster has been to the property and given you the okay to do so.

One reason that you should not make permanent repairs is that such work often covers up evidence of the original damage, or hides unseen damage that could become a more expensive problem later. By making only the repairs necessary to stop water from entering the home or additional destruction, you preserve the scene well enough for an adjuster to identify the cause and severity of all damage sustained. In this way, delaying permanent repairs could actually save you money in the long run.

If you have already repaired the damage when an adjuster shows up, the claim becomes a case of your word that there was damage and your word about the costs of the repairs. Because of that, many insurance companies will deny claims in which permanent repairs have been made before the site is properly appraised. So going ahead and replacing that broken window could mean you won't be able to get reimbursed for it later.

The same thing is true of a liability claim against your home policy. If a tree in your yard falls on a neighbor's car, you homeowners policy will cover the damages, but they will want to have the scene investigated by an insurance adjuster before giving the okay for repairs or tree removal. This helps the insurance company reduce fraud, and allows them to accurately estimate the costs through calculations made by trained damage assessment experts.

Answered May 7, 2012 by Anonymous

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