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You need to make an insurance claim for damage to your property. What should you do first? What can you expect?
If you’re not familiar with this process, it can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, your insurance agent will partner with you to walk you through the necessary steps. The following tips can also help clarify what to expect and what is considered “normal” for this process.
More than one check is normal. As you work through the claims process, you can typically expect to receive more than one check. Often, homeowners receive an initial sum that is an advance for repairs, but it does not represent the final settlement amount. You can still receive additional funds as expenses are documented and claimed. A separate check is also common for personal belongings, since insurance companies often cut checks for each category of damage. If you incur additional living expenses, such as hotel stays, you may receive yet another check for reimbursement of these claims.
Making direct payments is normal. In some cases, your insurance company may pay contractors directly for the work they complete on your property. However, use caution with this process, since it gives you less control of your claim. Make sure the work is done to your satisfaction before your insurer pays the contractor.
Mortgage company involvement is normal. Lenders often require borrowers to name them in their homeowner’s policy. If you have a mortgage on your property, the lender will likely be involved in the claims process. Checks for repairs may be made out to both you and your lender.
This lets lenders ensure the needed repairs are made on a property in which they have a vested interest. The same may be true if you are part of a homeowners’ association.
“In polite society, we call our obsessions hobbies,” notes author Stephen King. So what are your obsessions/hobbies?
Do they involve a significant investment in collectibles? Expensive equipment? If your hobby is running, you probably don’t have additional insurance concerns. However, if you collect rare coins, build and operate radio-controlled vehicles, or restore and sell antiques, you likely have a lot more to consider.
If your home houses a hobby that is vulnerable to loss, it’s important to evaluate what insurance coverage you need. Limits on homeowner and renter policies may be too low, or the causes of loss that are covered might not be appropriate. These may not be sufficient to cover your hobby. For example, consider the following:
Many more people are working at home than in the past, either starting their own businesses or on work-at-home contracts with their employers.
But while the idea of commuting 10 feet to your office in your pajamas sounds wonderful, there are some things to bear in mind in order to make the experience successful.
Your office space
It's important to divide your working space from the rest of your home as much as possible. Ideally, you will have an office in a separate room, but if that's not possible, try to dedicate within a room a space that's just for business, perhaps using a screen or divider to separate your desk from the rest of the room.
If you live in a noisy house, try to find somewhere quiet where you can talk on the phone, otherwise you will find it difficult to project a professional image.
Your 'office hours'
If you can, keep to strict office hours rather than let your work time overflow into your personal time. Doing this will help present a professional image to your clients or employer and also stop your workplace stresses from interfering with your private life. Imagine 'shutting the door' on work at the end of the day and not going back until you are due to start again.
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