Six Easy Steps to Completing a Home Insurance Claim

New Mexico Home InsuranceFiling a claim with your insurance company is a relatively straightforward process, that being said attention to detail is a requirement. I few simple steps will avoid some of the major pitfalls that can cost you not only valuable time but also equally valuable money.
• Call your insurance agent or insurance company as soon as possible. It is important to let the insurance company get started on the claim as soon as possible so that the claim can be settled and you can get your money and your life back as soon as possible. Along that same vein it is important to keep the lines of communication open and that mean that you need to let your insurance company know how to get a hold of you, especially if you have to leave your home because it has become uninhabitable. Also, let them know the extent of your damage, insurance companies will work on the worst cases first, so if your home is uninhabitable you will want to let them know that.
• Document your loss. Drag out that home inventory that you took last year of a few months back and take pictures of the damage. This shouldn’t be a difficult step to complete, but don’t skip it just because you think that the damage is obvious.
• Keep your receipts for additional living expenses. If you do have to leave your home you can still be reimbursed for the extra expenses such as motel receipts and restaurant expenses. Don’t lose out on this valuable coverage due to ignorance.
• Make any temporary repairs that you need to protect the property from further damage. It is important to remember that life is more important than property so don’t put yourself at risk, but do take any reasonable steps necessary to protect your property from further damage.
• Get organized and keep receipts and all contact information. The easiest way to accomplish this is to purchase a spiral bound notebook for about fifty cents and then staple all receipts to the pages inside of it. Additionally, use the pages to make notes of each conversation that you have regarding the claim, note the name of the person that you spoke with in addition to their phone number and e-mail address; also, document the date and time that the conversation took place and what was said.
• Don’t be the victim of a scam. Unfortunately there are many unscrupulous people out there who would like nothing better than to take advantage of you. Please check references and don’t make any deposits.
It has been my experience that while insurance companies are in no hurry to overpay on a claim they are usually fair about the process as well. Of course there are exceptions to the rule. If you feel that your insurance company is ripping you off contact your agent, and if you still don’t get satisfactory results consult an attorney. Good luck.

Cars vs Deer

New Mexico Auto InsuranceI generally consider myself to be a good and safe driver.  I am generally alert and watchful for hazards in the roadway.  Last year I was driving my children to school when a deer jumped out from behind a bush where it had been hiding, and began sprinting across the highway.  I didn’t even have time to hit the brakes when I struck the deer.  All I remember was my seven year old son saying:  Daddy said a bad word.  It didn’t make for a good morning.     

Cars and Deer are not a good combination.  It can prove lethal to the deer and very costly for the owner of the vehicle.  It can also prove to be lethal for the driver of the vehicle.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that deer involved collisions were responsible for about 200 fatalities per year.  Last year nearly one and a quarter million such collisions occurred in the United States and the resulting damage cost more than four billion to repair.  The average cost to repair a deer related collision was about thirty three hundred dollars.  Deer mating season and migration generally runs from November thru December and this dramatic increase in movement causes a corresponding increase in deer-vehicle collisions during this time of year.   

If you take a close look at your insurance policy you will find that damaged caused by hitting a deer or other animal in the road is NOT covered under the collision portion of your policy, but rather under the comprehensive coverage.  Comprehensive – also referred to as Other Than Collision – covers things such as theft, vandalism, and other nature events such as hail, windstorm, falling or flying objects, ect.  Comprehensive coverage is usually less expensive to purchase than collision coverage is.  Some insurance companies will allow you to purchase comprehensive coverage without the corresponding collision coverage while others insist that they be sold as a package deal. 

Please do the following to avoid deer related accidents.
• Remember that deer can be found anywhere – not just in rural areas.
• Deer are unpredictable.  When faced with scary things like headlights and car horns they will often do the very dumbest of things.
• Deer are herd animals – if there is one there will probably be more.
• Pay attention to the deer crossing signs – that means that deer may very well be crossing.
• Always wear your seatbelt.
• Use your high beams when driving at night and pay attention the area off of the roadway.
• Deer are most active at dusk and early morning; special care should be taken at these times of day.
• Do NOT veer to avoid the deer.  Brake firmly and stay in your lane.  Many serious injuries and fatalities occur when drivers attempt to avoid the collision and lose control of their cars.
• Do not rely on deer whistles, deer fences, or reflectors; while these items can help they are NOT foolproof.  Don’t bet your life on them.