Ways To Prevent Future Property Claim Denials and Underpayments

Tue Feb 28th, 2023 on     Property Insurance,    

Benjamin Franklin once said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and at VPM, we wholeheartedly agree. There are steps policyholders can take to prevent any future claims that arise from being denied or underpaid, as the Miami property insurance lawyer from our firm explains below.

While these preparations can occur at any time, in the Sunshine State, it is best to ensure you are prepared before hurricane season. 

Go Over Your Insurance Policy

Many homeowners make certain their home is properly insured when they first purchase it and never review the policy again. This is a terrible mistake as homeowners’ needs change over time as does property value. It is best to go over your current policy and evaluate your current insurance needs on an annual basis, at least. By doing so, you can ensure there is enough coverage in place in case a loss is sustained. 

Our Miami property insurance lawyer also advises that you should review your property insurance policy and needs when either of the following occurs:

  • When you have made improvements to your home or have made large purchases
  • When you are going through a major life change, such as marriage or divorce

This will help you to determine if you need additional coverage or if you currently have too much coverage. Especially with the way property values in most areas of Florida have increased over the last couple of years, checking now can save you from a huge headache later. 

Photograph & Video Your Property

After your property is already damaged, it is a tough time to prove what the property is worth. While not impossible, it is a job that can be made much easier by photographing and videoing the property prior to when the loss occurs. Since most losses occur with little to no warning, you will not very likely have enough warning to document your home and all its contents before the loss occurs. Therefore, it is best to take the time as soon as you are able to take pictures and videos of your home and its belongings. Then, make a point each year to update these documents with any new items or improvements. Trust us, if the need to litigate ever arises, your Miami property insurance lawyer will thank you for being so prepared!  

Save Receipts & Other Records

Receipts and other records can go a long way in proving your damages. Let’s assume you buy an expensive washer and dryer set. Holding onto the receipt for the purchase can prove very valuable to you and your Miami property insurance lawyer if at a later date, the set is damaged in a house fire. 

This is also true of improvements. If you own a valuable piece of antique furniture and have it refinished, the bill you receive for the work to refinish the piece of furniture can be as valuable as the original purchase receipt.

Obtain Estimates

You may have valuable property that you did not purchase but inherited or were gifted. Or, perhaps the value of something you own has increased significantly since you purchased it. For example, if you bought a gold and diamond pendant 15 years ago for $12,000 and it is now worth $25,000, having the estimate of its current value is much more important than the original receipt. Keep in mind, however, that not all homeowners’ policies cover jewelry in certain situations. Speak with your insurance advisor or your Miami property insurance lawyer and find out the terms of coverage for your jewelry and if there is anything you need to do to ensure yours is covered. 

Maintain Your Property

Believe it or not, it is possible that your claim for coverage could be denied due to your property being in poor condition. Most insurance policies require that you, the homeowner, keep your home in good condition. When you do not, and your failure to do so in some way contributes to the damage for which you are making a claim, your claim may be denied. For example, if damage to your home is caused by a slow leak that you should have noticed but did not, your claim for damages caused by the leak may be denied. 

Safeguard Your Home From Natural Disasters

Living in Florida means there is one time of year when everyone is on high alert, and that is hurricane season. Depending on the size and speed of the storm, Floridians may have days or only hours to prepare their property prior to being forced to evacuate. When you evacuate your home and do not take precautions to minimize the damage it can receive from the hurricane, the insurance company may deny your claim in full or in part. When this happens, it is in your best interest to speak with a Miami property insurance lawyer.

Mitigate Your Damages

When your property is damaged, you have the responsibility of mitigating the damages that it sustains. For example, if a pipe in your home bursts and you do not turn off the water supply, the damage to your home will be even greater than it would have been if you had turned off the water. Your insurer may claim that your failure to prevent, or mitigate, the additional damage results in a denial of coverage for the full amount of the damage incurred.  

Speak With A Miami Property Insurance Lawyer At VPM

To learn more about how to prevent your insurance claim from being denied, or if your claim has already been denied, speak with a Miami property insurance lawyer at VPM. We are attorneys with over two decades of experience helping policyholders resolve disputes with their insurance companies. We may be reached via our contact page.

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