Insurance law: How to approach homeowners insurance claims

It is impossible to anticipate whether a storm, fire or other disaster will damage or even destroy a home. Homeowners insurance coverage provides a sense of relief to most people because they know there is help should something happen to their homes. Unfortunately, insurance law makes this more complicated than it has to be. Insurance companies are often quick to deny claims they believe are not sufficiently justified or documented. Here are a few things Washington homeowners can do to better demonstrate the validity of their claims.

Contacting the insurance company might not be high on a person’s list of priorities, but it should be. Ideally, homeowners should contact their insurance companies as soon as they possibly can. This is only the first step in the claims process, so there is no need to worry about not having every last bit of information on hand. One of the next steps should be to create a written inventory of property damaged or destroyed in the disaster. Doing so closer to the time of the disaster usually makes it easier to recall which items were involved.

Visual documentation is an important tool that not enough people take advantage of. Most people already have smartphones, so it should be easy to take pictures of all the damage and from different angles. Video footage is also helpful. A homeowner can walk through the house and narrate the damage as he or she goes. This includes pointing out both damage to the physical structure of the home as well as other property that was damaged or destroyed.

A homeowner should do his or her best to provide supporting evidence for a claim. Despite this, the insurance company may still deny coverage. Those who are questioning denied claims often find it helpful to speak with an attorney who is familiar with Washington insurance law.

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