Filing a claim can be a complicated matter. It is advisable to consult with an attorney before filing any type of claim. If your claim is substantial, you should strongly consider hiring an experienced attorney to represent you.
If you are making a claim on one of your own policies, it’s important to know and understand what your policy says. Remember, the policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. Make sure that you understand what is covered and what is not as well as what is a deductible under your policy. If you have any questions about the policy, you should ask your agent or the insurance company for clarification before you need to make a claim.
Generally, you must contact your insurance agent and fill out one or more claims forms to document and substantiate the claim. It is probable that you will be asked to submit proof of the claim or allow an insurance employee, usually an adjuster, to examine the damage or other evidence supporting your claim. If your policy is supposed to cover a particular loss, don’t be afraid to make a claim. After all, policies can be thought of as a bet between you and your insurer which the insurance company lost.
It is advisable to call your agent or your company’s claims office as soon as reasonably possible after you have consulted with an attorney and properly evaluated your loss. Most policies require that you notify the insurance company within a certain time frame. Don’t be afraid to ask your agent for help in an effort to speed things up.
If you feel as though the insurance company’s estimates of your losses are too low, you may need to get one or more second opinions or estimates of your claim’s value. If you are able, it is probably a good idea to make temporary repairs needed to protect your property from further damage or injury if this is reasonable under the circumstances.
Save all receipts for items that you purchase related to the damage or claim. It is important to document as much proof as possible to protect your claim. Photographs or video tapes of your property prior to any disaster can be of immense value. This may be the best evidence you can obtain to support the evaluation of your loss. It may be almost as important to document post-disaster damages. As difficult as it may be, it is advisable to take photographs or video of the loss as well.
Making a claim against another person or company’s insurance policy is often extremely complicated. Even after you establish your loss, damages for such things as pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, loss of love and affection for a spouse or child, and other damages may require knowledge and experience which you do not possess.
If you do not know what your claim is worth, how can you effectively negotiate or accept an offer from the insurance company? It is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney before taking on an insurance company with vast resources. Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing and, in some cases, eliminating meritorious claims.
Time limitations, evidentiary considerations and a whole host of other important issues may arise and greatly complicate the procedure. The quicker you consult and retain legal counsel, the better your chances for preserving the full value of your claim.
We know that this process is not easy, and that is why we are here to help. Contact our office today to see how we can help with your specific legal situation.
Visit our videos page for answers to more frequently asked questions about claims.