Disability/Personal Injury

Home insurance disputes: Top 5 steps to properly handling your claim

House with yard

It goes without saying that if you own or rent a home (house, condo, apartment, cottage, etc.) you should have home insurance.

When disaster strikes, such as a house fire, a burst pipe, a flood or anything else covered by your policy, we immediately turn to our home insurer for help. That is natural and we expect the insurance adjuster to be sympathetic and helpful.

Unfortunately, many people encounter problems in dealing with their home insurer. These problems include non-responsiveness on the part of the adjuster, significant delays in the investigation or repair phase of the home, quibbling by the insurer regarding damaged or destroyed contents, all the way up to outright denial of the claim.

What should people do if they have a home insurance issue?

  • Make sure you inform your home insurance company as soon as you find out about the loss. Prompt reporting is a condition of the policy.
  • Create a timeline of events since the loss, including who you speak with at the insurance company, when (date) and regarding what.
  • Follow up with your adjuster in writing and confirm steps to be taken by the insurer or by you and completion of those steps.
  • If you have not been told to complete a Proof of Loss, complete it as soon as possible (make sure it’s accurate), have it notarized or commissioned, and submit it. Make sure to keep a copy.
  • If at any point you sense that the insurance company is dragging their feet or not complying with their obligations under the policy, contact an insurance lawyer for advice and assistance.

In addition to the above, I always tell my clients to make sure that they choose a reputable home insurance company. Many people go with the “cheapest” insurance available.

Unfortunately, more often than not, you get what you pay for. In addition, use a qualified and reputable insurance broker who is not beholden (or connected) to a particular insurer. It is the broker’s job to find you the best home insurance for your needs, at the best price. If disaster strikes, that broker will (or should) be there to assist you in dealing with your home insurer.

Another layer of protection never hurts. And remember: if you are frustrated with your home insurer because of an ongoing claim, contact an insurance lawyer for advice and assistance. Most claims can be resolved through negotiations with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable insurance lawyer.

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