Natural disasters and break-ins happen in an instant, resulting in damages to your property that require immediate action from you and your insurance company. Knowing what to do next in these moments can be a steep learning curve, and not every type of property damage is covered by insurance. Here is what you should include in your property insurance claim.
Gather Necessary Information
Not every type of damage is covered by residential or commercial property insurance plans, so it is helpful to start by reviewing your policy and reaching out to your agent directly with questions. Determine when the claim submission deadline is, request a repair estimate, and confirm that the damages you are dealing with are covered by your policy. It is also worth finding out how your insurance rates will be affected by filing. Understanding coverage limitations, costs of repairs, and how it can affect your rates are all crucial to deciding whether or not to move forward with a claim.
Document Every Step of the Process
When filing an insurance claim, record or document every conversation with your agent, insurance adjuster, and any contractors. In the event of a break-in, file a police report and retain a copy of the report that can be shared with your insurance company. You will need to fill out a proof-of-loss form with your claim, which states the cause of the damage and should include photos of the damaged property and items (ideally before and right after the event), along with their estimated values. When repairs can’t wait for the insurance company, save your receipts.
Documentation does not end with submitting an official insurance claim. Continue to document all related conversations, keep track of any relevant expenses, and take photos and videos at every step of the process, as they may be needed later on. Major repairs usually need to be made before the settlement checks start to arrive, so it’s important to keep a paper trail of what needs to be reimbursed.
Get a Second Opinion
Insurance companies rely on estimates and evidence to determine the amount they are willing to pay out to policyholders. While waiting on the results of your filed claim, collect repair estimates from other local contractors. Having these third-party estimates in-hand will help you determine whether your settlement offer is fair or if the amount is too low to accept. Second opinions also help to catch any missed damages or potential costs that were not previously considered in the claim.
With thorough documentation and consistent communication with your insurance agent, the property insurance claims process can be relatively painless. If your claim is denied, delayed, or results in insufficient coverage that should be covered by your policy, our team of property claims attorneys can help protect your investment. Contact us to learn how we can help.