What to do before filing an Insurance Claim? Read below for tips on filing a successful claim.
When you experience damage to your property, whether it’s residential or commercial you need to be ready for a full-on investigative attack from your insurance company. The moment you file your insurance claim, you become an adversary instead of a customer. I know this, because I am an adjuster, who has recently finished the adjuster’s course that all insurance adjusters must complete before receiving a state license. In the lectures on claim investigation, it clearly states that the policyholder moves into a adversarial roll within the system; guilty until proven innocent. It’s the staff adjuster’s job to find inconsistencies in your story and try to disprove the legitimacy of your claim. Why you might ask? Well, that’s because Insurance is a business. They must rule out all possibilities of fraud and try to pay out as little as possible on each claim to cut company losses. This ensures that they are always profitable.
Nothing against the insurance company, but you as the policyholder, need to be prepared for what’s coming your way!
What can you do before you file to help yourself?
A full property inspection, policy review, and consultation will need to take place with a non-biased insurance professional to formulate a course of action. This is a free service offered by many Public Adjusting Firms, who represent policyholders in the claim process. Most Public Adjuster’s work on contingency, which means you don’t pay them anything unless you get an insurance award, and even then it’s a small percentage of your claim payout. Here are some of the things that they will do, that you could try to do yourself, if so inclined:
- High quality photographs of the damage will need to be taken and data (measurements and more) will need to be collected from the damage before your insurance company is notified. Your insurance company is going to send out their adjuster and they will take photos, but you can’t control what angles or what portions of the damage they will capture. It’s important that you have solid visual proof of the damages in their totality, to refute any arguments about the damages and in the case that you have to go to court to prove that your claim is legitimate.
- First, you need to know exactly where the problem lies, what caused it, when it happened, how it happened, and if further damage can be mitigated or stopped/prevented. Knowing these things going in will help you to have a rebuttal to any theories that the insurance company may contrive. You’ll need to keep strict record of these things on paper, so that you always know the answer. It’s likely that you’ll be asked the same questions several times, which allows opportunities for you to slip up or misspeak.
- Find your policy and read it (you may have to request that they send you a copy via email, fax or mail); pay special attention to your declarations and exemptions sections
- Filing the claim is something that the insurance company will want you to do in haste; which leaves many things forgotten and only surface information to be given. Be cooperative, but don’t give in to being pushed when you feel uncomfortable and need to think. It’s okay to stop and think, but this is why it’s so important to have your facts straight and on paper, before you call your insurance company.
- Prepare to hurry up and wait. They will likely want you to do everything swiftly, but will drag their feet into oblivion asking you for documents and moving forward with your claim. Expect a lot of unanswered calls and delays on message responses. These things can cause a lot of anxiety, and rightfully so. You are not an insurance professional and you may not even know what’s in your policy. If they told you your claim wasn’t covered, would you be able to argue that it is? Most people would say “No”, because they aren’t sure about the ambiguous language used in their policy.
Thankfully, you don’t have to do this alone and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. As a matter of fact, there are professionals that will file and negotiate your claim for you, and only require a small fee out of your insurance payout at the end of your claim. Who does this great thing? We do! Noble Public Adjusting Group, in Florida, Georgia and Texas! (850)249-6972. You can even see recent clients and how much more money we were able to get them on our Facebook page here or a few on our website here. We file all of the paperwork for you and contact your insurance company. This prevents both written and spoken mistakes and smooths out the rest of the negotiation process. If you have already filed your claim, that’s okay, we can still help. Even if you’ve already received a pay-out and your claim has been closed. Most of the time, we can re-open your claim and re-negotiate your payout. Claim been denied all together? No problem, we can help change that. Give us a call at 850-249-6972 or request a free claim inspection here OR have us come out for free and go over your policy with you, to make sure you have the appropriate coverage; schedule that here.