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A Guide to Insurance Claims for Home Restoration

Drywall installation in a residential construction project. Generative AI.

It started as a typical Saturday for Rod and his wife, Ann. They left home in the morning and went out for breakfast. But halfway through their brunch, a neighbor called with the news: “Your house is on fire!” They returned to witness black smoke billowing from the windows and roof of their house as a team of firefighters worked to contain the blaze.

Unfortunately, ambulance chasers also arrived on the scene—freelance contractors offering to board up windows or help with reconstruction. Rod called his insurance company, and the agent advised him not to work with these freelancers but to use a professional licensed restoration company like SERVPRO. So began the insurance claims and restoration process. Here are the steps Rod and Ann took to rebuild their home to its pre-fire condition.

Insurance Claims Process for Residential Construction

Filing a homeowners insurance claim for a minor, basic repair is one matter. It’s another issue when damage necessitates a partial or total home rebuild. To minimize the extent of damage, you’ll need to take immediate action using the following checklist.

File a Home Insurance Claim 

Contact your insurer to file a claim immediately and set the wheels in motion for your home repairs. A restoration company, like SERVPRO, can assist you in this initial phase by acting as an intermediary to communicate the damage to the insurance company and offer emergency cleanup services if necessary.

Report the Incident to Authorities

If a burglary or vandalism occurs, you’ll also need to file a police report. Insurers use these reports to verify details about the claim. Once you’ve done this, take additional measures to prevent further complications. Cover leaky areas with a tarp, and secure all doors and exterior windows to keep out the elements or intruders. 

Document the Extent of Damage

Take photos of the damage in each room and inventory all affected valuables. Keep a record of conversations with your insurer and save the receipts for any immediate repairs or temporary living expenses incurred. The insurance company will then assign a claims adjuster to document the losses and estimate repair costs.

Partition for interior wall, Drywall installation at new home for under construction.

Resources to Assist in the Claims Process

If your home sustained extensive damage, your insurer might recommend the following services or resources to streamline home repairs.

Restoration Companies 

Companies like SERVPRO can help homeowners through the entire reconstruction process, from emergency board-up and roof tarp services to water removal and dehumidification. These companies also work with insurers for optimal efficiency.

In Rod and Ann’s case, SERVPRO arrived immediately with face masks, generators, heaters, lights, and air purifiers to remove the smoke residue. They also boarded up all the windows, tarped the roof, and used their relationship with the insurer to expedite a claim.

Licensed Contractors

Once your claim is approved, the next step is residential reconstruction. Choosing the right contractor is essential, so look for licensed professionals with experience in disaster recovery who can handle everything from minor repairs to entire rebuilds.

Scope of Work Estimates

Before the reconstruction begins, ensure you understand the total scope of work. This includes the timeline, cost breakdown, and extent of repairs. Your contractor should be able to show you a thorough outline of the whole project from start to finish.

SERVPRO managed every aspect of Rod and Ann’s claim—from the initial cleanup and cost estimates to securing qualified contractors for the rebuild. This seamless process freed them up to settle into temporary housing and replace necessities lost in the fire.

Claim Payout Checks

In most cases, an insurer will issue payouts for the claim in several installments. You might receive these payments once the repairs begin or after completion. Your insurer will issue separate payments to cover temporary housing while your home is under construction. You’ll also receive compensation to replace items such as clothing or furniture.

Dealing with the insurance claims and reconstruction process can be daunting for any homeowner. However, with the correct information and assistance from professional services, this path from disaster to recovery will be easier to navigate. Thanks to these action steps, you’ll rebuild more than your home—but the sense of comfort and security that comes with it.