There’s no way around it, suffering a loss at your home is an awful and traumatic event. The last thing you need is the added complexity that comes with filing an insurance claim.
Unfortunately, in the midst of crisis many people make mistakes that put them at a disadvantage later on in the insurance claims process. These errors can severely impact the amount of future reimbursement. Here are a few simple common mistakes that you can avoid:
Document the Property BEFORE the Damage Occurs
Insurance is one of those things we tend not to think about it until we need it. People rarely forget to photograph the damage to their property after an event. However, taking comprehensive pictures & videos of the property and personal items BEFORE they were damaged is where many homeowners fall short.
It is recommended that homeowners photograph their property at least once a year, as well as keep a written log of all valuable items in the property. Store these records somewhere safe, i.e. securely in the cloud with Drop Box, iCloud or Google Drive so they won’t be lost or damaged.
Be Careful Cleaning Up
It sounds strange, but cleaning up too quickly after your property has been damaged can actually hurt you when it comes to filing your claim. By cleaning up and trying to repair things on your own, you could end up making the damage look less severe than it really is. You don’t need to give your insurance company any additional excuse to reduce your claim.
The best thing to do is to wait until after the insurance claims adjusters have had time to inspect the property before trying to clean up or make repairs on your own.
However, You MUST Take Action to Stop Additional Damage
Unlike cleaning up debris or fixing something after the damage is over, taking action to prevent continued damage to your property is something you’re obligated to do.
For example, if you have a hole in your roof caused by a storm, or a blown-out window, you should take steps to tarp or board up those openings to prevent the elements from causing additional damage to the interior of your property. Failing to make a sufficient effort to mitigate or prevent further damage could result in a denial of claim down the road.
Never Exaggerate the Scope of Damage
Many homeowners are tempted to exaggerate the amount of damage in hopes of receiving a larger settlement from the insurance company. Making false and exaggerated statements can make your settlement negotiation process a nightmare, and can result in a claim denial or a full-out cancelation of your policy by the insurer.
Have questions about your property insurance claim? Feel free to contact Stark Loss for more information about how a Public Adjuster can help.