Too many homeowners don’t file a claim because they are afraid of their deductible. They may not have the money, and are afraid “paying your deductible” means money out of their pocket. That is not true.
Your insurance company will subtract your deductible from the total of your claim, so there are lots of ways to get your damage repaired, without spending a dime of your own money. These are legal and ethical, and in no way involve any kind of fraud.
Do some of the work yourself – There are lots of activities that need to be completed to bring your home to preloss condition. Cleaning, demolition and painting are generally pretty easy to do yourself. Discuss the job with your contractor and find one or two items you are comfortable doing yourself in exchange for credit on your bill.
You can choose less expensive replacement materials – For example if you have real wood flooring, you can replace with carpet or laminate, and keep the difference. Once your claim is documented, your settlement will be based on what was there before your loss, it is perfectly acceptable to make changes during the repair. Some people even use a loss as an opportunity to remodel.
Don’t replace all of your contents – We accumulate a lot of stuff in our homes that aren’t as useful as they once were – clothing, shoes, books, old video game systems, etc. If they are damaged you are entitled to be compensated for them. Take the money and don’t replace what you don’t need.
Act as your own general contractor – Insurance claims consist of several distinct parts. Emergency services and mitigation generally need to be done quickly to prevent further damage. Hire a restoration contractor to do those activities. Repairs are not so time sensitive, contract those yourself. Your insurance company will generally pay your claim based on standardized pricing, and if you can get the work done for less, you keep the difference.