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Dawson and Rosenthal
Dawson and Rosenthal

Documenting Property Damage for Your Insurance Claim

Disasters often bring confusion, causing individuals to forget critical steps in providing detailed documentation in an insurance claim. Filing a claim to recover the damages is up to you. It may become frustrating when an insurance company requires more information about the damage, but the area has been changed, no longer reflecting the initial scenario you faced. Effectively documenting property damage will help protect against a denied claim and insurance bad faith practices in Arizona and California.

Contact the Insurance Company Immediately

Property damage and disasters do not always strike during business hours. Being familiar with your insurance agent’s reporting requirements will allow you to report and document the damage within the appropriate time frame, and individuals should report any property damage as immediately as possible. Get the name of the person you spoke with, any direct contact information, and their position with the company.

Ask whether the insurance company would like you to retain the damaged property for a specific time. An insurance adjuster may perform a site evaluation of the damage and want to inspect any property you are claiming. If they are unwilling to set a timeline for retaining the damaged property, establish your own appropriate timeline and send registered mail detailing the timeframes for the insurance adjuster to work within. Allowing sixty days is appropriate.

Create Visual and Written Documentation of the Property Damage

The urge to immediately begin the clean-up process will likely take over instantaneously. However, use the moments immediately following property damage and once everyone’s safety is accounted for to document the damage through pictures and videos.

Additionally, you will want to create a list of damaged items. Any retained receipts from property purchases should be included in your documentation. Writing an itemized list will break the information down into easily translatable costs.

It is often necessary to begin cleaning after property damage to protect other property and for safety reasons. Locate a reasonable area near the damaged site to store the damaged property and allow time for its inspection. You have already confirmed the retention timeframe, addressed above.

Additional Property DamageDocumentation

Forgetting the details of conversations, the dates they occurred, and other specifics to your claim will likely occur amidst everything you need to do to get life back to a manageable place. Follow these steps to create a smoother path to an insurance claim following property damage:

  • Document all communication with the insurance company. Documentation creates a trail to significant people working on your claim. Make backup copies of all submitted documentation.
  • Follow up on conversations via email with the adjuster. Ask them to communicate promptly about your claim and send a registered letter when emails do not elicit a response.
  • Become familiar with the complaint process when insurance practices are questionable.
  • Investigate the costs of replacing your property. Speak with professionals who do not represent the insurance company to get accurate written statements of the costs to replace your property.
  • Become familiar with your rights about signing insurance documentation to prevent the insurance company from quickly settling your claim before you truly understand the extent of the damage you have experienced to the property.

Speak with an experienced property damage attorney in San Diego who understands the insurance claim process and strives to ensure you are protected from bad faith or unfair insurance practices. Your insurance should work for you when you need it. Once documents are signed, your ability to claim missed property damage has likely ended.