Insurance Claim Tips
Hi, everyone, EyenaN is here. Today, we’re gonna be going over five ways to make your insurance claim as strong as possible and increase your chances of getting paid. Remember to subscribe, and hit the like to stay up to date with all things home insurance. Let’s get right to it.
Don’t make repairs
This seems kind of counterintuitive, right? “My roof is leaking, but I shouldn’t fix it?” Exactly. You do not have to make repairs before reporting a claim. And in reality, not fixing it, can only help your claim.
Most insurance companies have a provision in their policies that the damaged property must be shown to the carrier if the claimant doesn’t, or worse, can’t, that gives the carrier grounds to not pay the claim.
The first thing you should do when you discover damage is take photos. Photos and videos of every visible angle of damage. However, you still have to mitigate the damage.
You do this by putting up a tarp or implementing other methods to stop further damage from occurring. Once the carrier inspects, takes their own photos and videos of the areas, then you can begin repairs, but it’s best to get written confirmation from the adjuster as well.
If you absolutely have to fix the damage before the carrier can inspect, whether it’s due to a safety concern, or, you know, the damage has become an extreme hindrance to your day to day life, take photos.
If there’s any takeaway from this first tips, the absolute importance of photos to your claim. Photographing the damage before repairs, during repair, and after, along with keeping the property as physical proof.
Timing is everything
Most insurance policies contain a provision that property damage or loss must be reported promptly to the carrier. This means A-S-A-P. What does that mean for you?
After you notice the damage and take your photos, the next thing you should do is call your insurance company and to report the claim. Ever since the damage happened, you’ve been under a ticking clock, whether you watched the damage occur or didn’t notice it after a few days.
Most litigation and claim disputes that I’ve been a part of have been over whether an insured reported the claim quickly enough. They like to use the excuse that because you waited too long to report a claim, they were unable to inspect the damage that was caused, and that it may have gotten worse, or they’re unable to determine the cause.
I’ve seen different carriers make this exact argument, whether the insured only waited a few days to report the claim, and even when the homeowner didn’t know that the problem was even there due to a small leak that progressively got worse.
This sounds ridiculous, but think, the insurance companies are just that, companies, and they will always try to keep the money you pay them in their pocket. The best way to avoid this is to always report a claim immediately. If you don’t know whether to report damage, contact a licensed insurance litigation attorney for advice.
Pre-loss checks and photos are almost priceless
Keeping true to the themes of photos being crucial and insurance companies doing absolutely anything to avoid paying you, comes to our next tip.
Insurance carriers will sometimes argue that the reported damage was ongoing or long-term, even if it was recently noticed, because that way they can deny coverage on your policy. Think about it. When was the last time you took a photo of just your ceiling or just your floor?
Odds are never. That’s how they get you, because you don’t have proof that an exact area of your home or your ceiling was fine a month ago and you can’t contradict them, it’s just absolutely devious. But that’s why you’re still here, because you want to know every way to strengthen your claim and secure the money that’s owed to you.
Starting today, you’re going to regularly document all areas of your home, especially if you live in a seasonal storm area like Florida with hurricanes, or California with earthquakes. I, personally, take photos and videos of every inch of my home every May. I live in Florida, so we deal with hurricane season every year.
By filming in May, when the hurricane season starts, if I ever have a problem, like a roof leak, I could show the carrier what my house looked like only a few weeks before, and prove that the storm caused my damage, which would be covered by a normal homeowner or windstorm policy.
I start at my front door, walk through the house, and take photos and videos of every room, including the flooring, the baseboards, the ceilings, inside cabinets, behind doors.
These areas are not often checked or even looked at, so this also helps to keep an eye on your home and be aware of any potential damage or issues. I also recommend that you document the exterior of your home. You can simply walk around the perimeter, getting everything from the ground to the bottom of the roof.
I wouldn’t exactly recommend you walk around on your roof, so contact a company in your area to take drone footage of the roof material as well. It’s a bit of an expense, but it will ultimately help you if you live in a harsh weather area. Do this every six months to a year, to take one less argument away from the insurance carriers.
Only tell the insurance what you know, not what you think you know.
When you call your insurance carrier, they will ask you all sorts of questions about the house, the damage, the loss. While you’re dealing with a high threat situation with your home, the insurance carrier is already building their case against you. Just as if you were arrested, anything you say, can and will be used against you.
The only difference is that the insurance company does not have to read you your Miranda rights. Because insurance policies are purposefully long and wordy, you probably haven’t read it all, and you don’t know what can help you or hurt you when speaking with the carrier. Check out my previous Articles on just that topic.
Stick to only what you know, don’t infer, don’t assume, don’t try to guess why the damage happened, let the carrier figure that out. Take this as an example, your insurance carrier asks you, “How long has the roof been leaking?” Well, the only information you have right now is that you know that it’s currently leaking.
Read More >>> Handle Your Insurance Claim Hiring an Attorney
Obviously, you could guess or assume that it was from the last storm or hurricane, but you don’t know that, you haven’t been inspecting your roof all year long. Again, when you report your claim is important. If you tell your insurance carrier that the leak was caused by the last big storm, but that storm happened two months ago, you have just hurt your claim and you may be denied.
Your insurance carrier will try to lock you into an answer. Stay true to only what you know. Ask yourself this question before answering anything, do I know the answer or am I assuming. By answering to what you know, you can only help your claim through the process, and always remember the insurance carrier is not your friend.
Don’t accept the carrier’s word as true
Insurance carriers are in the business of making money. How do you think Progressive and GEICO can afford to run all of their ads 24/7 on every channel? It’s in their best interest to pay you as little as possible and keep the years worth of premium payments you’ve made to them in their own pocket. Don’t take the word that something isn’t covered or that it will only cost X or Y, do your own research, get estimates, get second opinions.
If they say the cost is otherwise and you need to dispute the insurance claim, estimate, or payment, then do it. If you don’t, why are you even paying for insurance? Why are you paying your hard earned dollars every month to an insurance company in the first place?
It’s a shame that insurance companies, the companies that guarantee you coverage, and protection, and security at every term play this horrible game of cat and mouse, dragging their own clients through hoops and limitations to avoid doing the very function that they advertise to do.
Hopefully, with these five tips, you’ll feel a little more confident on what to do and what not to do whenever you have to make that call to your insurance carrier. Thank you for Reading. If you wanna keep up to date with everything home insurance law, click the subscribe button.