Tips to Make the Fire Insurance Claims Process Work Smoothly
UPDATED: June 19, 2018
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Here are some helpful tips to make the process work smoothly:
- Put everything in writing and keep a copy for yourself. Avoid 'he said, she said' situations during the claims process by putting everything in writing and keeping a copy for yourself. Even if you have complete trust and confidence in your claims adjuster, many claim decisions will likely be out of his or her hands.
Keep a written log of all of your calls to and from anyone involved in the claims process (including the date and time of the call, what the call was about and whether or not any promises were made), keep a copy of every letter you write or receive (including emails) and a list of every person working on your claim.
Having this information organized and at your disposal will make dealing with adjusters, contractors and investigators that much easier. In addition, in the event that you need to sue your insurance company, having a detailed claim file can only benefit you during that process.
- Cooperate with the insurance company. Just as your insurance company has a duty to act in good faith, you as a policyholder, also have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company. This means that you must provide them with any documentation they request – as long as it is reasonable, provide access to your home when needed and do whatever else may be required to complete the claims process.
- Manage your own claim. Your insurance company should manage your claim to the best of its ability. However, when a claim requires many different individuals to act together, the chances of a mistake happening are high. By managing your own claim (keeping logs of calls, a file for letters and contacts and following up to make sure that promises are kept), you can better control the process – which may assist in completing it correctly and in a shorter amount of time.
- Don't settle for less than you're entitled to. However, all parties should understand that there are gray areas that are subject to individual interpretation. Insurance companies sometimes attempt to settle with policyholders for less than the claim is worth in hopes that the policyholder, often feeling beaten by the process and needing the money, will simply accept the offer and go away. If you don't feel as though you've gotten what you're entitled to, tell your insurer, complain to a supervisor, contact your state's insurance commissioner or department or contact an attorney to act on your behalf.
- Learn how to recognize when your insurer is acting in 'bad faith'. Insurers act in 'bad faith' when they don't process claims in a timely manner, deny claims wrongfully, subject policyholders to undue hardships such as unnecessary waiting periods or unreasonable demands, coerce policyholders into accepting low offers and in many other ways.
The claim process should not be overly difficult and your insurance company should act reasonably and in good faith. When this doesn't happen, your insurer may be acting in bad faith. Whenever you are in doubt, contact an attorney who can analyze your situation to determine if you've been the victim of bad faith insurance practices.
Fire Insurance Claim Manual for Homeowners
- Fire Insurance Claims Manual Forward
- The Basics of Homeowners' and Fire Insurance
- How Fire Insurance Policies Work
- The Fire Insurance Claims Process: A Step by Step Review
- Identifying and Overcoming Fire Insurance Claims Obstacles
- Tips to Make the Fire Insurance Claims Process Work Smoothly
- Fire Insurance Lawyer - How to Hire