Post-Loss Obligations Can’t be Ignored by Homeowners
Whenever you have a claim for damage to your property, your insurance contract will have detailed instructions on what your obligations are after the loss. Complying with these post-loss responsibilities is important. Failing to do so can be seen as a violation of your insurance contract, and the insurance company can deny coverage for the loss. As we know, insurance companies will do almost anything to get out of paying for damage, making it all the more important that homeowners understand what their obligations are after a loss.
What are Post Loss Obligations?
Of course, a homeowner’s insurance property loss attorney can help you understand your policy and comply with your post loss obligations, but as a general rule, most policies will require that you cooperate with the insurance adjuster, allow access to your property, submit to an examination under oath (like a deposition), or fill out the forms required by your insurance company.
You may wonder why a homeowner would fail to abide by these requirements. It happens all the time. Sometimes, the failure is innocent. For example, your policy may require that you allow access to the property to the insurance adjuster to evaluate the damage. However, if you have altered, or begun to repair the damage, you have effectively denied the adjuster the chance to inspect it, even though you didn’t mean to do so.
Other times, homeowners purposely avoid their obligations. Perhaps they are afraid to take an examination under oath, or they get busy with life’s demands and fail to fill out the required forms to make the claim.
What Happens When Obligations Are Not Followed?
No matter how it happens, the question then becomes whether your failure to comply with the post-loss obligations of your policy automatically voids your coverage (as the insurance companies would like it to do).
Some courts have said yes, that the insurance company does not need to provide any reason other than the fact that you did not comply with your insurance contract. But other courts have said that an insurance company needs to show that your failure to comply with your post-loss obligations prejudices the insurance company in some way.
What is Prejudice?
Take the example above, where you have denied the insurance company the ability to inspect the damage by repairing the property too quickly. There, the insurance company may be very prejudiced; it has no way of ever seeing the original damage to inspect it.
However, what if your violation of the policy was the failure to submit paperwork by a certain deadline? There, the insurance company may not be prejudiced at all—having to wait an extra day or two for a form did not hamper, impede, or obstruct the insurance company’s ability to evaluate your claim.
Of course, the best policy is just to comply with the policy’s post-loss obligations, and avoid any problems in the first place.
If you have a business and have an insurance dispute with your property insurance company, or a homeowner’s insurance claim, contact the Miami homeowners’ association claims attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. today for help.