Your Property is Damaged, Now You Need to Make an Insurance Claim

April 19, 2012
By Hugo V. Alvarez on April 19, 2012 4:41 AM |

property damage.jpgYou own a property that was blown away by a recent hurricane, and another property that had a significant pipe burst that flooded the whole house. What do you do?

You think you have has insurance coverage to help you cope with the financial devastation for these losses, but you're not sure what to do.

Check Your Insurance Policy for All Conditions and Obligations Necessary to Make a Proper Claim

The first thing you need to do is to track down a copy of the current insurance policy and find out the name of the insurance company. Now that you have the insurance policy, and know the name of the insurance company, you can then begin the process of navigating those two insurance claims.

You need to then immediately notify the insurance company of the claim. Failure to do so promptly may jeopardize the insurance claim, and make the claim process a nightmare for you and your client.

Every insurance policy written in Florida contains numerous conditions that are imposed on the policy holder/insured. The policy holder must adhere to those conditions before the insurance company will make an offer to settle the claim, and before the insured can even file a lawsuit against the insurance company. Those conditions are intended to permit an insurance company to promptly investigate a claim after its occurrence.

The conditions typically involve providing "immediate" notice to an insurance company of the loss. That means you or your client will have to call the insurance company to report the loss as soon as possible.

You will typically need to allow the insurance company an opportunity to inspect the loss and conduct an investigation. If you wait months, or even years, to report the claim to the insurance company, then the insurance company will likely deny the claim on grounds that it was "prejudiced" in its ability to promptly perform an investigation.

You may also be required to sit for an examination under oath, and may also be required to submit a sworn proof of loss. The insurance company should also be afforded the opportunity to inspect the loss as well as photograph/video tape it. Any repairs that may have been made need to be properly documented. Make sure to keep all receipts and photograph of all repairs.

What Happens Next.

The claims process can be an exceedingly frustrating experience. And often times it may even result in litigation against the insurance company. But before that lawsuit is filed, it is imperative that you comply with all of the requests made by the insurance company. The insurance company will likely not make an offer to resolve the claim if their investigation was hindered in any way. Also, a premature rush to the courthouse may also result in a dismissal of the lawsuit if the insurance company can demonstrate that the insured failed to comply and cooperate with the insurance company during its investigation.