Did your property incur damage from a fallen tree? Was your house broken into and vandalized? Was there a storm that destroyed your home? Various incidents can happen that are out of your control. If you can’t pay for the repairs straight out of your pocket, the best thing to do is file a home insurance claim.
Common Home Insurance Claim
Approximately 6% of Americans with insured homes filed a claim in 2020. That’s a little more than the 5.3% recorded in 2019. Furthermore, according to the latest data from the Insurance Information Institute, home insurance claims in 2020 covered almost 98% of property damage, including theft. Below are the most common reasons for filing a claim.
- Wind and hail damage (45.5%)
- Fire and lightning damage (23.8%)
- Water damage (19.9%)
- Other property damage (7.9%)
- Bodily injury or property damage to others (2%)
- Theft (0.6%)
- Medical payments and other causes (0.3%)
When to Seek Legal Advice
To start, there may be a time when reaching an agreement with your insurance company seems impossible. When it happens, having someone knowledgeable about the law on your side increases your chances of turning the tables in your favor. The next thing is when facing a complicated claim. It may not be the wisest option to attempt to deal with a complex case alone. An attorney can help put more dollars in your pocket by maximizing your payout. Thus, you will find legal assistance convenient, especially when you’re too busy dealing with other personal and business matters. You can leave it to an attorney you trust to handle the case.
Scenarios You Need to Look Out For
1. Claim rejection
Dealing with the aftermath of a disaster is difficult. More so when your insurance company rejects your claim, leaving you empty-handed. Policy exclusions exist for damage due to lack of maintenance, neglect, defective design, and construction. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to upkeep your home, for property damage can mean negligence. For instance, a claim regarding a fallen tree destroying your roof. It can raise doubts about your roof’s condition before the incident. The good news is that there is a solution to this. Thus, reviewing the policy before filing a claim and working with an attorney are measures you can take.
What to Avoid:
- Not Reading Your Policy
- Are you unaware of the terms of your home insurance policy? If yes, then your insurance provider can take advantage of you. They can claim that insurance won’t cover what happened, or they will exempt your property. So, know what your policy’s coverages mean, at the very least.
- Absence of Proper Maintenance
- Home insurance is for unforeseen problems. They are not issues you can avoid with routine maintenance. Hence, you risk having a denied potential claim for things discovered and reported, such as a slow leak.
2. A low-ball offer
The lack of documentary evidence and an attorney are reasons for the low settlement. As a result, your insurance company can do this once they find out about those deficits. As you must get an accurate valuation for your property, you would want to avoid getting undervalued. Along with being offered the smallest amount possible, insurers can refuse to cover certain repairs or not inform you about other policy benefits. Remember, after the settlement closes, you won’t be able to make disputes anymore. Thus, never settle for a payment that is less than you deserve. An attorney can successfully back you up on this.
What to Avoid:
- Assuming the Calculations of Your Insurer Are Accurate
- The calculations are always open to scrutiny. You are free to request your repair estimates and to challenge anything. If you disagree, inform the insurer and offer your repair cost estimates. Present them to the insurance company and demand payment.
- Insufficient Documentation of Evidence
- Every insurance claim requires evidence. So, failing to gather enough proof is a common mistake. Document everything with photos. For instance, record what occurred on camera during the incident. Furthermore, make an inventory of all the damaged and undamaged assets and the purchase and repair costs. Lastly, gather any receipts if you can safely enter your home.
3. Delayed reaction
Have you found yourself waiting for a response from your insurance company to no avail? After a major disaster, they can be inundated with home insurance claims from different people. A delayed reaction may not always be intentional. But, you must note that some insurers do it out of bad faith. It is because they know that a long waiting period eventually causes you to feel tired and frustrated. For this reason, you can end on either of the two: accept whatever amount they present or give up on the claim. You wouldn’t want to reach that point. Ultimately, the help of an attorney gives you an advantage in settling on an offer you deserve. Considering it will push your insurance company to act and make proper assessments.
What to Avoid:
- Waiting Too Long
- If your home has been damaged, get in touch with your insurer right away. Untrue claims like “you failed to file your claim promptly” may be made by your insurer if you submit your report late. Do not wait to file a claim. Your house might sustain additional damage. To add, your insurer can make those repairs and payments more quickly the earlier you inform them.
- Making a Large Claim by Yourself
- Settling costly claims can take months due to their complexity. Because of this, you might have to deal with numerous insurance adjusters and mountains of paperwork in the interim. If your home sustained significant damage, consult a home insurance claim specialist. This person represents you in dealing with the insurance company’s adjusters, ensuring you have the necessary paperwork and meet deadlines.
The Bottom Line
Overall, going through a home insurance claim alone may be possible. However, working with an attorney gives you an edge. Not only that, but you can also prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of you. Sure, you can study the law and various legal jargon, but it can take much of your valuable time. Thus, having a trusted attorney makes it easier to pinpoint scenarios that can put you in a tough spot. With all this in mind, you can rest assured that the claim you deserve ends up in your hands.
Viciti Law has focused its legal representation on cases involving personal injury and insurance claim denials. We have the expertise to assess your case and fight for your best interests. Discover your legal options and how our firm can assist you in obtaining the settlement you are due from the person or entity that caused your injuries. Contact us today and schedule a free consultation.