By Peter O’Brien, President Solutia Adjusters
In general, property claims should be filed when there is a benefit to the insured for filing a claim and should be avoided when there is little or no benefit to be gained. It is beneficial to the community to complete the steps below before filing a property damage claim, whether for a small water leak or a major hail event, since the repercussions of incorrectly filed claims can be significant for the long term financial solvency of the community:
Verify that there is actual damage and confirm the extent of anticipated damage: Too often claims are called in for the wrong thing and/or for damage that is much less severe than anticipated.
Confirm the date that the loss took place: Calling in a claim for the wrong date of loss can cause problems, including filing a claim with the wrong insurance company.
Verify there is coverage for the loss or damage: Exclusions and coverage limitations exist in every insurance policy that could limit or exclude certain types or aspects of loss.
Form a reasonable expectation of outcome: Before filing a claim it is best to have at least a reasonable expectation of the size of the loss and what benefit the community can expect after application of the deductible and any applicable policy limitations or exclusions.
Meet the policy deadlines and timelines: There are requirements in most policies that claims be filed as soon as it is reasonably known that a claim is necessary. Once damage is known, it is important to move quickly through the decision-making process and file the claim on time.
If you are unsure about a particular situation or have questions about claim best practices for Community Associations, please let us know.
Peter O’Brien a founding partner of Solutia Adjusters. He managed large and complex claims for over nine years and provides proactive training and claims resolution solutions for communities and commercial property owners.