Preparation Before Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim
Remember that the insurance company’s duty is to verify your claim is legitimate, fair and falls within the perimeters of your policy.
While providing customer service, the insurance company representatives also have a responsibility to their employers to perform their jobs properly. Prepare yourself before making a claim, and persevere in addressing any concerns you may have about the claim, approval or denial, or information used to determine your benefits.
First, notify the insurance company of your loss. Do not go into specifics at this time. Wait until you have had time to review what occurred and to re-read your policy and these materials.
Safeguard your property (“mitigate the loss”). You should take steps to protect your property from further damage. Otherwise, any additional damage may not be paid for by the insurance company (they would still have to pay for the original damage).
Document your loss carefully. Use photographs, contractor bids, expert reports and appraisals.
Never discard damaged or destroyed property unless you have received written authorization to do so from the company.
Keep careful records, including notes of conversations with insurance representatives and letters to and from the insurance company. Never send intemperate letters or make offensive or insulting statements to insurance company representatives.
When you believe a claim or lawsuit may be filed against you, you should do the following:
- Obtain a list of any and all witnesses to what happened. Write down and save their names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
- Save any possible evidence.
- Photograph anything of significance.
Promptly send the insurance company a WRITTEN “Notice of Liability” letter, which states that you believe a claim or lawsuit may be filed against you. Include the date, time and location of the accident and the name, address and telephone number of the person who may file the lawsuit. Keep a copy of this letter for your records.
Keep careful records, including notes of conversations or correspondence with insurance representatives or others.
Next: Filing a Claim