Unsurprisingly, policyholders and insurance companies have an antagonistic relationship. Property owners purchase insurance, hoping never to need it, but are relieved to have the coverage if they do. Insurance companies sell policies hoping not to be called to pay a claim. Insurance companies are naturally inclined to pay what they need to – not a penny more. With that in mind, policyholders want to ensure their settlement payment is the current amount. So what should you do if your insurance claim was underpaid?

Property insurance is peace of mind that the insurance company will help protect the policyholder’s financial situation if their house, car, or other essential possessions are stolen, damaged, or destroyed. So, the worst happened, the claim filed with the insurance company was complete. The insurance check is in hand, but is it enough? Here are three red flags that an insurance check is less than it should be: 

Unprepared Inspection Visit

When the insurer’s adjuster arrives for the scheduled appointment, he or she should have the proper context and essential information provided in the initial claim report. An adjuster asking questions to obtain basic information is the first clue that the claim might not be estimated correctly, leading to underpayment. 

Lackluster Inspection of the Property 

The insurance adjuster’s initial role in the process is to set eyes on the property involved in the claim and confirm the details described in the report. An adjuster not thoroughly inspecting the insured property, not documenting the damage, and making an educated estimate for the covered property is a second red flag. The insurance adjuster is there to help substantiate the claimant’s assessment of the damage, confirm that the report is accurate and truthful, and provide an estimate to the insurer for payment. This estimate requires an in-depth inspection of the property.  

Limited Communication of Information 

An adjuster not discussing estimates for contractor repairs or whether the insurance company typically pays the contractor directly or the insured is another red flag. A discussion with the adjuster about the property’s worth and contractor estimates received before the insurance adjuster’s appointment is crucial to avoid underpayment of the claim and being stuck with out-of-pocket expenses if repairs or replacement of the property is more than the claim payment.  

Policyholders buy property insurance with their fingers crossed that it is never needed or used. If the worst happens and an insured files a claim, underpayment of the claim can leave the policyholder in a difficult financial situation. Insurance companies inherently avoid paying too much for a property claim. Unfortunately, this objective can lead to underpaying the insured. Contacting a property insurance attorney is recommended if the insurance company fails to pay the correct amount on a claim. Our team of property claims attorneys can guide you if you feel a claim was underpaid. Contact us to learn more.