What if your house was destroyed in a storm and you had no idea whether or not it was covered by insurance? It happens more often than you might think. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many homeowners found out their roofs were not insured when they filed roofing insurance claims for damage incurred during the hurricane. If this sounds like something that could happen to you or someone close to you, do yourself a favor and read our blog post on Roofing Insurance Claims Do’s and Don’ts before filing anything with your insurer. We will help guide through some of the common pitfalls which can lead to denied roofing insurance claims.
Don’t Get Lost in The Paperwork of a Claim
It’s always the paperwork. Do you have all of the necessary documentation to file a claim? If not, find it now- don’t wait till later! Remember, insurers are looking for reasons not to pay claims and your easiest path to payment denial is getting lost in the paperwork. Be clear that everything you need is included when filing your roofing insurance claim.
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Don’t Fail to Report the Loss
Before filing a claim, you must report the loss to your insurer. If a storm has damaged your home or business, don’t wait; call now! This can be an important step in getting timely and correct roofing insurance payments for your loss. Because there is often confusion about who is at fault for weather-related damage, if you don’t notify the right party immediately after a storm or fire, you could lose out on valuable time when seeking claims reimbursements from your insurer.
Don’t Settle for Delay Tactics
Many insurers attempt to deliberately delay claims payments as an effort to avoid reimbursing customers as much money as they can get away with. As we mentioned earlier, this is one reason why it’s so important that you report all losses immediately after they occur; some insurers may use delays against you in order to persuade you not to file a claim which is covered by the policy. Don’t let them manipulate you into thinking that your losses are not covered or that they will pay out less than your actual loss has become. Insurers hold all of the cards, but only if you give them time to stack their deck against you.
Do Evaluate Coverage on Your Property
Before filing a claim, confirm what coverages are available for your home or business. If you think something may be missing from your insurance plan, call your agent and ask about it now so that the policy will truly protect what is most important to you should the unexpected happen. Remember that insurers are businesses and they exist to make money; as such, there are exclusions written in policies which may not seem clear but could make a big difference when filing a claim.
Don’t Skimp on Buying Coverage
Roofing insurance is vital to your home and business; do not let price be the driving factor in deciding what you need or where to place it. If you buy too little, your losses will likely exceed that limit. It’s better to spend more now and protect yourself than risk spending much more repairing damages after an event occurs because of inadequate coverage. One-way insurers save money on your premiums is by limiting the amount they will pay out for individual types of loss.
Don’t Dismiss Minor Damage
Filing a claim for unnecessary coverage and then letting minor damages go is one way the insurance industry makes money. Minor damages such as cracked tiles, damaged gutters or holes in your roof are often signs of bigger issues that could impact the structural integrity of your home or business. Don’t assume you can repair these things on your own; instead call a professional who can help you assess whether repairs are necessary to prevent water damage from spreading to other parts of your property.
Do Keep Detailed Records
A thorough accounting of what was lost from a covered event may be the difference between getting paid adequately or not at all. Holding onto receipts for items that were damaged will make it much easier to file a successful — and potentially more lucrative — insurance claim.
Do Consider Financial Needs When Filing A Claim
In some instances, you may be able to get full coverage by paying your deductible and accepting the insurer’s settlement offer, but doing so may not be in your best interests if you need that money for something else (like making home or business repairs). Your insurer wants to settle claims as inexpensively as possible; although they will make their best effort to cover all of your losses, they won’t consider how much it will cost you to repair damages. With this information in mind, if you decide that what is being offered does not adequately compensate you for your loss, contact an experienced insurance attorney who can help protect your rights while pushing for more funding.