The amount you get from an insurance claim could have a big effect on your life now and in the future if an unexpected occurrence caused a property damage to your home or business. Unfortunately, if you don’t have enough cash on hand to make the necessary repairs to your house or place of business, you’ll either have to make do with the damage for the time being, sell the property, and start over, or all of the above. There is no acceptable choice here; your best strategy is to bargain with the insurance company for the highest possible payout.
To assist you fight back against the insurance company’s penny-pinching, a good property damage attorney will have the experience, knowledge, and motivation you need. You should hire a property damage attorney who has a track record of effectively assisting clients in obtaining full compensation for their losses.
Unrepresented property owners are easy targets for insurance company bullying when claims are wrongfully denied. Your lawyer needs to be an aggressive fighter on your behalf to ensure that you receive adequate compensation for your losses.
Property Damage Insurance Claims Procedure
You should know how the claims procedure works before attempting to negotiate a property damage claim.
The fundamentals of filing a property insurance claim are as follows:
You Submit Your Claim
When you report property damage to your home insurance provider or business insurance provider, the claims procedure officially begins. There’s probably a deadline by which you need to file a claim for property damage with your insurer. If you don’t, your claim won’t be covered. If you want to avoid paying the full cost of repairs out of pocket, make sure to register a claim as soon as possible.
An Insurance Claims Adjuster is Dispatched
The insurance company will send someone out to inspect the damage regardless of how thorough your documentation is. The adjuster will also decide whether or not they hold anyone accountable for the destruction.
The insurance will want to make sure you haven’t exaggerated the worth of your claim. Insurance fraud occurs when the harm is exaggerated on purpose. You must provide evidence refuting the adjuster’s conclusions about liability and property damage if you wish to dispute them.
An Initial Offer is Made by the Insurance Company
Once the adjuster’s inquiry is complete and the report is submitted to the insurance company, the insurance provider will make a first offer. The insurance company will base its offer on the severity of the damage, whether or not you are at fault, and how much they believe they can avoid paying. Do not accept any offer made by the insurance company before consulting with a lawyer, as their initial offer is likely to be lower than what they are actually willing to pay.
Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company for a higher settlement amount if you and the insurance company have different opinions about the value of your claim. However, you will need solid evidence to back up your claim, and the insurance company will certainly push back because they want to pay as little as possible. A skilled property damage attorney can help you negotiate a higher settlement offer from your insurer.
You Either Come to an Agreement or Go to Trial
Once settlement negotiations are underway, your case can go one of two ways. If you and the insurance company can come to terms, you can accept their offer, sign a settlement and release agreement (or something similar), and receive payment for your claim. There is always the possibility of going to court to force the insurance company to pay if they refuse to negotiate in good faith. It’s best to consult a lawyer before taking any drastic measures, like filing a lawsuit, because trials are both time-consuming and financially draining.
Negotiating a Property Damage Insurance Claim
The chances of getting a reasonable payout on a claim for property damage can be improved through negotiation.
Using these methods, you will have the most success:
Review Your Insurance Policy
When filing a claim for property damage, every detail counts. You may rest assured that your insurance company is familiar with every nuance of your policy and will cite specific provisions in order to back up the worth of their offer. You can even the playing field by quoting the specifics of your insurance policy back at them if you read it carefully (or have a lawyer do it on your behalf).
If you suffer damage to your house or place of business, for instance, you may be compensated under the terms of your insurance policy. However, unless you make the insurance company aware that you are aware of this coverage, they may not include it in your payout.
Know Your Rights
Insurance firms use policyholders’ lack of knowledge of their rights as bargaining leverage during settlement discussions. However, if you stand up for what is right, you’ll be in a far stronger negotiating position.
For instance, if you feel an insurance company’s initial offer is unreasonable, you might decline it. You have the right to negotiate a better deal as long as you comply with the terms of your policy, despite what they may tell you when they make their first offer.
Moreover, you have the option of employing a loss assessor to analyze the damage done to your property and compare it to the findings of the insurance adjuster. If your assessor comes to a higher conclusion than the insurance company, you can utilize their report to negotiate for more compensation.
Keep Records of the Negotiations
There is a lot that may happen in the months it takes to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company. To ensure that you are protected in the event that the insurance company reneges on a settlement offer or otherwise acts in bad faith during negotiations, it is imperative that you retain detailed records of all settlement proposals and other relevant negotiation information.
If you would rather not keep written records, you can always record your phone calls; just make sure the insurance adjuster knows this. After you have accepted an offer, double check that your notes reflect what the insurance company said when you spoke to them. It is important to be clear if the offers are not comparable. Convince the adjuster to honor the deal you reached by producing the documentation you discussed.
Stay Calm and Be Honest
Immense frustration can build up during months of negotiations with an insurance provider. However, you must not let your rage to control you. The insurance adjuster is not likely to improve their offer if you lose your cool with them, and they may even end the negotiation process if that happens.
However, showing an adjuster little kindness and respect goes a long way. Equally important is being forthright and honest in all interactions with the insurance provider. Your claim could be denied if they think you’re exaggerating the degree of damage to your property. They may even take legal action against you if they think you tried to deceive them on purpose.
When determining the amount of your claim, insurance providers require documentation. Documentation of all costs, including estimates for repairs, is essential. If you need repairs done, you can file a claim with your insurance carrier and include a documented estimate from a contractor.
Take pictures of the damage to the property and list the goods that have been destroyed in case the insurance adjuster overlooks something.
Inquire Into the Reasoning Behind the Proposed Settlement
When filing a claim with an insurance company, you have the right to request an itemized report of the insurer’s calculations. You can compare the adjuster’s estimates with your own, and you can use the list to highlight any discrepancies. There is a higher chance that you will get the compensation you want if you have substantial documentation supporting your claim.
Be Careful of Your Words
Do not make assumptions about what caused the harm to your property. Your insurance company may reject or undervalue your claim because of something you said accidentally. Don’t say anything that would make it sound like you caused the destruction. If the insurance company can prove that you caused the damage, they will deny your claim and you will be liable for paying for all of the necessary repairs out of pocket.
The claims process is intentionally drawn out by insurance companies in order to wear you down before reaching a settlement. They are betting that you will lose patience and agree to a cheap settlement offer just to get the lawsuit over with. I implore you not to make that mistake. Long-winded insurance conversations are frustrating, but holding tough and bargaining for a better offer will pay off in the end.
Hire a Lawyer
To gain leverage in discussions with insurers, the simplest and most effective action you can take is to hire a property damage attorney. When you retain legal representation, you send a message to the insurance companies that you mean business regarding your claim. A lawyer is in the best position to analyze your policy and advise you on how to obtain further proof to back up your claim.
Take These Steps Before Filing a Claim for Property Damage
If you put in the time and effort to prepare, you should have fewer problems negotiating with your insurance provider.
There are a few things you can do to strengthen your claim:
Make Sure You Keep Detailed Records of the Property Damage
Take numerous pictures of the wreckage and store them away securely. The sooner you get this done after property damage occurs, the less risk there is that something will change before the insurance adjuster can file their report.
If you try to make a second claim with the insurance company after a second event has caused more damage, the firm may argue that there wasn’t a second event, but rather that you were trying to exaggerate your losses. If you photograph the first damage, you will have photographic evidence of any subsequent harm.
Hire a Loss Assessor
Adjusters are paid by insurance companies, therefore they will do anything they can to reduce the amount you receive in compensation for your losses. If the insurance adjuster’s initial offer is too low, you might hire a loss assessor to inspect the damage and provide a revised estimate.
File Your Claim Quickly
Too much delay in filing a claim might have negative consequences, including a lower probability of receiving compensation. It is possible that the insurance company will completely reject your claim. You may lose your right to make a claim if you wait too long.
If You Want Your Claim to Be Taken Seriously, You Must Keep It Private
Don’t share details of your claim on social media or talk about it with others you know. Anything you say or publish online can be used as evidence against you by the insurance company if they find your communication. Please wait to discuss the details of your claim in public until after your case has been resolved.
Get in Touch With a Lawyer Quickly
You will have an easier time filing a claim and are more likely to get a reasonable settlement if you contact an attorney as soon as possible after an incident or person causes damage to your property. Attorneys have extensive education and training to represent their clients in such cases and protect their legal rights. In order to benefit from the expertise and experience of an attorney, you should have one represent you in legal matters.
Professional lawyers who focus on property damage cases have years of expertise negotiating with insurers and can advocate on your behalf if you suffer property loss. Get a case evaluation from a lawyer right now by calling their office. To file an insurance claim, you need not go it alone.