James H. Bushart, Public Adjuster LLC
Insurance claims for property damage can be a complicated process and avoiding mistakes can be a challenge. It requires proper documentation and timely submission of relevant paperwork. Any mistake in filing the claim could result in delayed or denied coverage, leaving the policyholder to bear the entire cost of the damage. Therefore, it is essential to understand the do’s and don’ts of filing an insurance claim for property damage and to know when to get help. In this essay, we will discuss the mistakes that policyholders should avoid when filing an insurance claim for property damage.
Failing to Document the Damage:
The first and most common mistake that policyholders make is failing to document the damage properly. It is essential to take pictures and videos of the damaged property as soon as possible after the incident occurs. This documentation will serve as evidence for the insurance company to determine the extent of the damage and the amount of coverage required. Without proper documentation, it can be challenging to prove the damage, and the insurance company may deny the claim.
Photographs or video of the hailstones that struck the property, for example, are valuable evidence since some weather reports might report the nearest hailstorm to have been miles away on the date of loss. Photographs of interior water damage taken before clean-up measures began help preserve evidence of fresh damage. Proving your claim is YOUR responsibility. Leave it up to the insurance company to prove it for you and you are likely to be disappointed in the result of their half-hearted efforts.
Waiting Too Long to File the Claim:
Another common mistake that policyholders make is waiting too long to file the claim. It is crucial to report the damage to the insurance company as soon as possible after the incident occurs. Most insurance policies have a specific timeframe within which the policyholder must report the damage. Failing to report the damage within this timeframe could result in a denied claim. Additionally, waiting too long to file the claim could result in delays in the claims process, which could cause further damage to the property.
Failing to Provide Accurate Information:
When filing an insurance claim for property damage, it is essential to provide accurate and detailed information about the incident. This includes the date and time of the incident, the cause of the damage, and the extent of the damage. Providing inaccurate or incomplete information could result in delays or denials of the claim. Additionally, it could result in the policyholder being accused of insurance fraud, which could result in legal consequences.
Not Reviewing the Insurance Policy:
Before filing an insurance claim for property damage, it is essential to review the insurance policy to understand the coverage and exclusions. Many policyholders make the mistake of assuming that their insurance policy covers all types of damage, only to realize later that the damage is excluded from the policy. Therefore, it is essential to review the policy and understand the coverage and exclusions before filing the claim. Your insurance policy is a contract worth hundreds of thousands (sometimes millions) of dollars. READ IT.
Attempting to Repair the Damage Before Filing the Claim:
Some policyholders make the mistake of attempting to repair the damage before filing the claim. It is essential to notify the insurance company before making any repairs to the property. The insurance company will likely send a claims adjuster to assess the damage and determine the amount of coverage required. Failing to notify the insurance company before making repairs could result in a denied claim, as the insurance company will not have the opportunity to assess the damage.
Failing to Mitigate Further Damage:
When property damage occurs, it is essential to take steps to mitigate further damage. This includes taking steps to prevent water damage or securing the property from further damage. Failing to take steps to mitigate further damage could result in a denied claim, as the insurance company may view the policyholder as negligent in protecting the property.
Not Understanding the Claims Process:
Filing an insurance claim for property damage can be a complicated process. It is essential to understand the claims process and follow the guidelines provided by the insurance company. Failure to understand the claims process could result in delays or denials of the claim. If you need help with this, contact a licensed public adjuster or attorney for advice or assistance.
Not Following Up on the Claim:
After filing an insurance claim for property damage, it is essential to follow up with the insurance company regularly. This includes following up on the status of the claim and providing any additional documentation required.
Not Seeking Assistance from Unbiased Sources:
When you find your insurance provider putting more effort into denying your claim than paying it or you feel that you are getting unfair resistance or treatment, consult a licensed public adjuster or an attorney to assist you.