Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Water leak in your home -- should you call your insurance company 1-800 claims number or your agent first?

If you have a water leak and possible damage in your home, who should you call first (after calling a plumber) -- the insurance company claims number, or your agent?

Call your agent first!  He or she can counsel you on whether it makes sense to file a claim.  Sometimes it does, oftentimes it doesn't.  A situation that seems huge and costly initially, often turns out to be not so much, and if you've started a claim for what will turn out to be only a few hundred dollars paid by the insurance company for the repair, the impact to your future rates may be higher than the amount you received.

It always depends on several factors, including what happened, how it happened, the estimated cost to fix, and your deductible -- items you should fully discuss with your agent before starting a formal claim. 

Insurance companies keep track of claims
Did you know that whenever you call an insurance company's claims phone number, and someone comes to check out your home, it's likely to be recorded as a "claim" or "loss" even if the insurance company ends up not paying anything to fix it?   The number and type of claims that are recorded could have an impact on your current homeowners insurance rates, in addition to your future pricing if you're out shopping for home insurance.  You can help control this by really evaluating whether filing a claim makes sense in the first place.

Of course, things happen, and I encourage my clients to use their insurance if something bad happens, because that's what it's there for.  To use an obvious example, if your upstairs toilet line breaks and floods the upstairs and downstairs, don't hesitate to get a claim started.  For less severe situations, though, take a little time to discuss it with your agent, who is there to give you some good advice. That's what they're getting paid for.

Be smart about your insurance.  Contact your agent first when something happens and take advantage of their experience. 

David Yates Insurance Agency
1881 General George Patton Dr., Suite 103
Franklin, TN 37067
Phone 615-778-1816  Fax 615-778-1817

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