People that have invested in building a fence around their homes understand just how expensive it can be to build, repair, or replace a fence. What happens if something happens to your fence after you’ve already put so much money into building it in the first place? Your homeowners insurance may be able to lend a hand.
Your homeowners insurance may or may not cover the damage to your fence based on its cause, so before making the claim, check out if you’re eligible for coverage. Your home insurance provider wants its customers to remain loyal, so it works to provide fair protection to retain this loyalty.
If you experience damage to your fence and believe it will receive coverage, decide whether or not you want to file a claim to cover some or all of this damage. If you do want to make a claim, try to act as quickly as possible. Never filed a home insurance claim on an external structure? We’ve got you covered.
Before You Make the Claim
Don’t be too hasty to dial up your insurance company. There are a few steps you need to take before you get them involved.
1. Take pictures to document the damage. This is proof for your insurance company that the damage was caused by the reasons you are claiming it for.
2. If the fence was damaged by a vandal or other driver, you might want to file a police report, as this will serve as proof for your insurer.
3. Get an estimate of the damage by a contractor. This will determine whether you decide to file a claim or just want to pay out of pocket. If the total cost of the damage is less than the rate of your deductible, paying for the repairs yourself might be cheaper than filing an insurance claim on this damage. Since making a claim toward your homeowners insurance might increase your premiums, you’ll only want to file a claim if the repair costs are much higher than the deductible.
4. Check out your own homeowners insurance coverage to see their policy for “other structures.” This section covers external structures on your property, like swimming pools or fences. If you have any questions about your policy’s rules, call your insurance company for clarification.
How to File the Claim
Once you feel that you’ve completed the preliminary process, it’s time to contact your insurer and get to work.
1. Call your provider to file a homeowners insurance claim. You’ll speak directly with an agent, who will help you decide if the repair costs exceed your deductible. The agent will also need to know details about the damage and its cause. Once he or she has spoken with you, the agent will send over claim forms that you’ll need to fill out.
2. Once these forms are submitted, your provider will send an insurance adjuster to inspect the damage and decide what should and shouldn’t be covered through your plan. Don’t let the adjuster come to inspect your fence when you’re at work or away from home, however; he or she might overlook something that you noticed. This is the time the photos you took come in handy, especially if you have photos of the fence from before the incident as well.
3. Once your fence has been inspected, your provider will contact you again, this time with the amount of money they are able to cover on the fence damage. If you don’t feel that your coverage is adequate, this is where the estimate you got from a contractor comes into play. Don’t be afraid to negotiate; as a customer, you have the right to try to get the best deal possible. In addition, your insurance provider is required to tell you why certain sections are not being covered, if applicable. You may want to have a contractor or adjuster come out for a second estimate if you still feel that you’re expected to pay too much.
4. Whether or not you feel the need to negotiate the costs, you’ll eventually come to an agreement with your insurance provider. They may provide you with the complete payment at once or give you partial payments before and after the repairs on your fence take place.