Do You Need To File A Home Insurance Claim?
Your home is your largest investment. This makes your home one of the most important assets you can protect monetarily. As Florida residents, you may be likely to host holiday festivities at your home and there is always the possibility that someone could get hurt. Further, on occasion, Florida is prone to bad weather and hurricanes. For that purpose, we all purchase homeowners insurance; we pay premiums every month to ensure that if anything happen on our property, we are not left with a bill for the damages. Because the damages to your home can be very expensive, having a claim denied can be financially disastrous. Of course, it is important to know what you can do to ensure that your homeowners insurance claim is not denied, and what to do in the event that you believe that your claim was wrongfully denied by your insurance company.
The Basics of Filing an Insurance Claim
The following provides a list of basic steps you should follow when filing an insurance claim:
- Evaluate your timing. While it is important not to waste time filing your claim, you could miss various damages in your home if you rush to file a claim before fully determining the extent of the damages or waiting until the storm or incident has completely subsided before having the extent of the damages in your home evaluated.
- Locate your insurance policy.
- Keep intricate records. Your first communication with your landlord will be your initial phone call. Be sure to keep records of your conversations with your insurance company. There are several things you can do to ensure that your verbal conversations with your insurance company are properly recorded for your reference in the event of a miscommunication on the insurance company’s part:
- Take notes. Keep a notepad or journal of when you called, what time of day, and what number you used. Take down the full name of the representative you spoke to (include an employee number if possible) and note what was discussed during the conversation. Be sure to take very specific notes regarding any promises or guarantees made by the representative. Also note your claim number.
- If possible, try to obtain a record of the call and the length of time you spent on the phone with your insurance company.
- Keep a record of the number of times you have to call before you get through; if your insurance company claims that you delayed calling, you will have a record that shows your efforts contacting them.
- Take pictures of all the damage you find. You should be sure to have a photographs of the damage and its extent in the event that the insurance company questions it.
- Have a qualified representative inspect the damage. While it may be important to note your impressions of the damage to your home, only a qualified professional can determine the extent of the damages; especially those that may not be apparent to you.
- Watch what you say. Terms like “flood” and “mold” are important to your insurance company and their definitions are much narrower in the insurance context than in regular speech. If you wrongfully categorize a pipe bursting as a flood to your insurance company, you may not be covered for your damages without additional insurance for floods.
- Speak to an attorney. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your insurance company still wrongfully denies your claim. In that event, you are able to appeal the denial.
In the event that you feel you need more help with your claim, you should contact an experienced attorney. Your attorney can evaluate the situation and help you work your way through a wrongful denial in Florida. The skilled West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig, LLP are able to help you navigate a claim denial.