Right after something terrible has happened to your property, the last thing you want to worry about is insurance claims. However, filing an insurance claim is often the fastest way to get your life back in order! It’s important that you understand your rights and responsibilities in this situation so that you can deal with insurance companies with minimal stress.
The first thing to do is carefully read the declarations page of your insurance policy. Concentrate on the section that deals with personal property. Make sure that you are using a current copy of your policy, and that you and the insurance company are using the same version. You need to figure out if any exclusions in the insurance policy apply to you right now.
Remember that the insurance company is motivated to minimize its payout. You may need to negotiate carefully to get the results you deserve. Always remain calm and respectful when speaking with insurance adjusters. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re confused.
To maximize your chances of a successful claim, it’s important to understand the common reasons why claims are rejected. Your insurance claim may be rejected if:
- You don’t file your claim promptly.
- The cause of property damage falls under an exclusion condition in your policy.
- You haven’t been paying your insurance premiums.
- The damage isn’t sufficiently documented.
- The insurance adjuster finds anything suspicious or false in the claim.
- You didn’t take precautions to prevent further damage after the initial loss.
Time constraints vary between insurance companies. It’s usually a good idea to file as quickly as possible after a disaster—at least within a year of the incident. Insurance companies are usually required to send you paperwork for a claim within thirty days of a request. Find out if your insurance company provides an online filing process, if that’s more convenient for you.
Check your insurance policy for all the deadlines involved in making a claim. Every part of the claims process may be time sensitive. For example, check deadlines for documenting the damage as well as filing paperwork. If your claim is rejected, ask your insurance company about deadlines for filing appeals.
If the insurance company rejects your claim, you have the right to dispute the issue within the appeals deadline. Contact your claims adjuster first. You’ll need to find out exactly why the insurance company rejected your claim. The company should send you a formal letter explaining why they rejected you; if anything in that letter is unclear, contact the company and ask questions until you understand. If you decide to appeal the rejection, prepare as much evidence as you can to support your case.
Here are a few ways to fight an insurance claim rejection:
- File an appeal with the insurance company within the deadline.
- If you disagree with your insurance company’s appraisal, request an independent appraisal for a second opinion on your property damage.
- If your appeal is rejected, you can file a complaint with your state insurance board so the appeals process is investigated.
- Contact an attorney to investigate further legal steps.
When it comes to preventing property damage, storage techniques are key. Not sure how to store your family’s heirlooms? Our colleagues at Art Recovery Technologies have some archival method tips for you. If your computers have been damaged, check out Electronic Restoration Services’ tips for recovering data from damaged hard drives.