If your home or business has been damaged and you file an insurance claim in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, or elsewhere, the following 5 steps will help you obtain enough funds to repair your property:
1. Realize that the claims process is a business process.
Keep in mind that insurers are in business to make money. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that per se. However, many times this results in honest policyholders being shortchanged when they need help the most. In fact, former Allstate Chief Executive Officer Jerry Choate once explained: “The leverage is really on the claims side,” Choate said. “If you don’t win there, I don’t care what you do on the front end. You’re not going to win.”(http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aIOpZROwhvNI)
Like the insurance companies, you should look after your own economic best interests when pursuing an insurance claim.
2. Document the pre-storm condition of your property.
Basically, the idea is to credibly establish what condition your property was in before the loss. Doing so prevents your insurer from claiming that any of the new damage was “pre-existing” and thus not covered by your insurance policy. Have “before” pictures and videos available. Property appraisals and other reports can also serve as good documentation.
3. Co-operate with your insurer.
Do your part. Promptly report your claim so that your insurer has the opportunity to investigate the loss. Be present when the adjuster inspects the damage and make sure to show him or her all of the damage. Make an effort to comply with all reasonable requests made by the insurer.
4. Document your loss.
Take pictures of all the damage. Save receipts and invoices for all out-of-pocket repairs you may make. This helps in two ways: 1) it shows your insurance company the extent of the damages so that your claim can be adjusted properly from the outset and 2) it serves as good evidence in the event a lawsuit is necessary.
5. Consider hiring professional help.
If you have co-operated with your insurer and documented your loss but still aren’t satisfied with your adjustment, consider hiring professional help. Property experts and attorneys who focus on insurance claims can help you obtain a fair settlement. A good insurance claims attorney keeps abreast of the applicable insurance laws, case precedents, and policy provisions and knows which experts to dispatch to help you settle your property insurance claim. If you’re in a stalemate with your insurer, fell free to contact my office for a complimentary case consultation.