With climate change and crime, there’s no shortage of factors that could lead to damage to your home or personal property. In the event that your property is damaged, one of the first questions you will ponder is whether you need to hire a home insurance attorney to help you file a claim. The answer might be different than you expect.
The Damage Has Occurred — Now What?
A bad faith attorney can help you out if you need to initiate litigation against an insurance company. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to contact an attorney right away. This post will outline a series of steps to help you navigate the situation and decide whether you need to involve an attorney.
1. File a Claim and Protect Your Property
After noticing the damage, the first thing you should do is file a claim and take the necessary steps to protect your property from further damage. While you may feel inclined to call a bad faith attorney right away, contacting the insurance company is actually a fairly straightforward process.
After the initial call, take the steps to secure your property. If there is damage that could spread, make sure you quell it and ensure that there are no serious issues.
If there is anything dangerous, such as excessive amounts of water and problems of that nature, make sure everyone stays out of the area and take the necessary steps to secure the space until the contractor arrives.
This is also a great time to take photos of the damage and document the details of what happened.
Although you aren’t at the stage where you would need to hire a home insurance attorney, thorough documentation will come in handy if you do need to hire one. That’s because documentation provides visual evidence of any harm that has befallen you as a result of the insurance company’s inaction on your claim.
2. Cooperate with the Investigation
While the insurance company will undoubtedly send their own agents to inspect the damage, you are also able to hire a contractor you trust to evaluate the situation. After they prepare an estimate, you can share this information with the insurance company.
Even though money is starting to become a factor, you still aren’t at the stage where you would need to hire a home insurance attorney.
When the insurance agent arrives, make sure you are courteous and cooperative. If they request to see something, show them and answer any questions they have. Make sure to take notes. Again, thoroughly documenting the situation will help you in the long run.
3. Ask Questions
In addition to taking notes based on your observations, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re wondering if there is anything else you should look for or if there are any preventive measures that could be taken to keep the damage from getting worse, now is the time to ask.
Make sure to document the agent’s response, and remember that they are also making their own claim file. In this regard, any hostility or rudeness on your part should be avoided.
4. Evaluate Your Estimate
Once you receive your estimate, look it over carefully. If there is anything you are confused about or unhappy with, contact the insurance company first and let the adjuster know.
If you feel something was missed, make sure to ask for clarification. If you feel they are not addressing your needs, or if the estimate they provided is insufficient and they are unwilling to budge, it might be time to contact a home insurance attorney.
Keep in mind that you do not need an attorney to file a traditional homeowner’s insurance claim or negotiate a higher settlement amount with the insurance company. An attorney will be most helpful if the claim is not proceeding in accordance with state law, is too expensive, or is posing some other hindrance.
5. Contact the Insurer’s Claims Department
If the insurance company is making your life difficult, one more step you could take before hiring an attorney is to contact the insurer’s claims department. If you are still unable to yield a result, you can contact your state’s department of insurance and file a complaint.
6. Contact an Attorney
When you contact an attorney, make sure you have all of your documentation organized and ready to go. This will help you convey the necessary information quickly and efficiently, which will help the attorney form a decisive plan of action.
Contact the Bad Faith Attorney Who Can Help
If you are struggling with a home insurance claim, sidestep all of the noise and reach out to Brasher Law today. Our attorneys have years of experience with insurance law and will evaluate your case with the understanding and compassion it deserves. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.