What Not To Say To An Insurance Company Or Adjuster In A Property Damage Claim
Suffering serious damage to your home can be a traumatic incident, but the impacts can be eased through successful negotiations with your insurance provider and their adjusters. Ideally, they will work with you to arrange a fair payout under your policy’s terms to make you – and your home – whole again.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out this way, and there are approaches a homeowner should take to make sure they get a fair deal from their insurance provider. Property claim adjusters are paid to serve the company’s best interests, and these interests don’t always align 100% with yours. Sometimes this means reducing, minimizing, or even denying certain insurance claims. At times, this can be due to something a homeowner said or reported during the early stages of a claim.
Insurance adjusters are trained to hold “informal” conversations with insured property damage victims as part of the early stages of a property damage insurance claim. They are trained to elicit responses that may support the insured’s claims, but also to obtain responses that can help an insurer reduce or deny coverage.
In some ways, this is similar to a police interrogation in the sense that “anything you say can and will be used against you.” While freed from the pressure and formality of such an interrogation, statements made during an interview with your insurance company can have damaging effects that can cost you thousands in coverage.
Here are some suggestions to guide you through these interviews:
- Provide basic information, such as: the address of the property, your name, age, and phone number, or other details essential to the claim, such as the date and approximate time of the incident. Avoid giving extra or unnecessary details about yourself, or the condition of the property. Speculation as to what may have caused or contributed to damage might seem helpful at the time, but can come back to haunt a homeowner later on.
- Review your policy before speaking to representatives of the insurance company. Know what your policy covers, what rights you are entitled to, and what the insurance company requires in terms of deadlines and documentation. This can help you avoid being pushed into a corner during discussions with an insurance adjuster.
- Avoid giving recorded statements unless required, such as during an Examination Under Oath. Voluntarily providing recorded statements when you don’t have to can give insurers opportunities to obtain “gotcha” statements to be used against you.
- Don’t provide any cost estimates on your own to an insurance agent or adjuster. Let the process play out, and hire an independent adjuster if necessary. Wait for official estimates to come in so you don’t pigeonhole yourself and give the insurer an excuse to limit your claim for damages.
- Refer the insurance company to your attorney if you have hired an attorney. If you have retained a Florida property damage claims attorney to assist you with the process, let their experience and judgment guide you before making statements that can put your claim in jeopardy. An attorney can advise you of important legal rights you have, including your homeowner’s insurance rights under Florida law.
Our Daytona, Florida Property Damage Attorneys Can Guide You From Start to Finish in an Insurance Claim
The Daytona property damage insurance attorneys at Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A., are all too familiar with the tactics insurance companies will use to get insured homeowners to hurt their own claims. What can seem like a friendly and helpful conversation might be designed – at least in part – to set boundaries on your claim using your own statements. Our attorneys can help guide you through any of the process to get the most out of your property damage claim. To learn more, call our Daytona law offices today at 386-252-5170, or schedule a consultation with our Daytona Beach property damage attorneys online.