Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Homeowners Insurance Claims
When your property has sustained a loss of some kind, or damage, and that damage is covered by the policy, it may seem like there is little you can do wrong. The insurance company may give you problems, or dispute coverage, or have a different opinion than you about the value of your claim, but certainly, you, as the victim, can’t be said to have made any errors.
Except you can. Many homeowners don’t even realize that mistakes can be made in the claims process that can affect or impact the ability to be paid on homeowners insurance claims—even claims for damage that should be covered under the terms of the policy.
Waiting Too Long
The number one mistake people make is that they often do not report the loss in a timely manner. Certainly, for more catastrophic damage, homeowners are likely to quickly report losses. But often, for smaller losses, or losses the homeowner thinks he or she can fix, or problems the homeowner just feels like he or she will “get to later,” the delay can lead to the otherwise covered claim being denied by the insurance company.
Many people don’t realize that to the extent that they can, they must try to mitigate or minimize the damage to their property. For example, if your roof is leaking, you may have to put a tarp over it, or move or protect personal property that will be damaged by the incoming elements.
Many people will proceed to immediately fix any damage, or at least, to move items, throw away anything that’s broken, or get Cousin Bill to come in and do some makeshift, temporary repairs. But what they don’t realize is that if they do this, and they don’t have pictures or documentation of the damage, the insurance company has no way of knowing how much damage you sustained.
By fixing property, moving property, or altering the property, you may be depriving the insurance company of its chance to inspect the damage.
To avoid this, you should take pictures or videos of the losses, and document the lost or damaged property on paper, so that you have a record of the damage.
Believing the Adjuster or Insurance Company
Often, the adjuster for the insurance company will tell you how much your damage is worth or even whether or not the loss is covered under the insurance policy. The adjuster seems really nice and helpful, and seems to know what he or she is doing and saying, so you believe the adjuster.
But the adjuster has an agenda; he or she works for the insurance company. Never take what the adjuster says at face value, especially if you suspect that the value of your damages is more than what the adjuster says, or if the adjuster says your loss isn’t covered at all.
Contact the Miami property damage insurance attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. for help today if your insurance company is giving you problems or arguments about paying for covered losses or damage to your property.