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5 Ways to Avoid Home Insurance Claim Delays

Claim Delays

Saying haste makes waste can be aptly applied when you decide to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance provider. Filing a claim before you take certain steps often results in delays or denials. The best way to avoid having that happen is by not filing your claim haphazardly. Here are five steps you can take to can avoid having a delay hold up your claim.

1. Be Prompt

Take a good look at the declarations page of your policy to determine what is covered. Then promptly report your claim to your insurance agent or the insurance company directly. As you work with the insurance company adjuster through the life of the claim, be consistent and quick to respond to any inquiries, but don’t respond before being certain of the information you’re providing. If you feel too much time has passed before hearing back on a question, don’t hesitate to contact the adjuster.

2. Get Organized

Grab yourself a 3-ring binder and organize your paperwork. Set up sections for dwelling loss, contents loss and inventory, loss of use of living space, and miscellaneous expenses. Put all receipts in each section and make sure to include photos that detail any losses. Have a separate section called a claim diary where you can keep detailed notes (names, titles, and phone numbers) of conversations you have with your insurer’s adjuster. Be sure to promptly confirm all verbal conversations or agreements in writing or by email.

3. Secure a Contractor

As with most property damage claims, the key is selecting a well-known contractor to begin estimating the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home. The sooner you get someone to begin the estimation phase, the sooner you can get an agreement on the proper scope to repair the damaged property. Doing so will also help you avoid scope of loss disagreements when the insurance company has its adjuster  inspect your property.

4. Understand Content Claim Terms
Three terms affect the amount of your claim recovery:
  • Actual Cash Value – This  is often defined in your policy as replacement cost less applicable depreciation.  In some states, a more broad aproach is taken and market value may be used.
  • Depreciation – the deduction  in value based on age, wear, and tear using the  life expectancy of the item.
  • Replacement Cost – This is  defined  as   the actual cost in today’s dollars to replace an item(s) back to it's pre-loss condition

Most of today’s homeowner policies are replacement cost ones, but to collect the full and fair amount you’re entitled to means you have to actually replace the items and then send the receipts to your insurance company with a demand for payment. The policy is clear to state that they only owe the Replacement Cost until the item is actually repaired or replaced and only owe Actual Cash Value upfront. 

5. Get Professional Help

If your insurance company adjuster is not adequately responding to your queries, you may decide the claims process is becoming too time-consuming or confusing. At that point hiring a professional to negotiate on your behalf with the insurer could be in your best interest. An experienced and reputable public adjuster can help you avoid additional emotional upset when dealing with a claim and can also help you get the fair settlement you deserve.

While it’s your insurer’s job to restore your damaged property, it’s up to you to prove your losses. Filing an insurance claim after a major loss can be complicated and overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember that a public adjuster is your advocate and has no obligation to reduce costs for the insurer, which means you come out ahead both emotionally and financially.

David Miller
David Miller
Thank you for visiting us. My name is David Miller, and I know what it means to have to fight with your insurance carrier just to get fair payment for your property damage claim. My family suffered a total loss house fire that took nearly two very stressful years to settle. Since, I combined my experience in construction with my expertise in contract language to create Miller Public Adjusters. We work exclusively for policyholders. Please feel free to comment, ask questions, and let us know how we can help.

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