Why Is My Flood Insurance Claim Taking So Long?
When you faithfully pay your insurance premiums and maintain your obligations to your insurance company, you expect your insurance company to handle your flood insurance claim promptly and fairly. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Infact, it’s rarely the case.
Some adjusters use delay tactics to hinder the process, with the goal of keeping settlement proceeds in their bank accounts and out of your pocket.
This guide will give you a few tips on how to attempt to speed up the process.
Delay, Deny Confuse and Refuse: Common Insurance Stall Tactics
Firstly, you want to be able to recognize tactics that are being used to delay and underpay your claim.
Stalled Investigations. Investigations are delayed with the hopes that you will eventually give up.
Representative Changes. The insurance company intentionally changes your representative to get you aggravated and confused as to who should be handling your claim.
Incremental information requests. The adjuster will ask for a little at a time instead of asking for necessary documentation all at once in an attempt to delay your claim as long as possible.
Lowball first offer. Insurance companies will stall your flood insurance claim knowing that it will financially affect you and force you to settle your claim for less than what it is worth.
How to help speed up the flood insurance claim process
Read your policy carefully. You should be informed of exactly what is covered and know how to appeal a denial by your insurance company.
Get all of your documentation about the claim together. Include any pictures of the damage, reports from the adjuster, and estimates for repair. It is common for adjusters to forget to ask for certain documentation, necessary to close the claim. If you are organized on your side, you will help expedite their delayed documentation requests.
Respond to all requests promptly. You (the consumer) are more than likely going to have a lot going on and may forget about the letter you received from the insurance company requesting documentation. Be aware that delays on the part of the consumer is ammunition an insurance company can use to stall the claim and delay payout.
Settling insurance claims requires both the insured and the insurer to do their parts. If you have done your part and the insurance company is not doing theirs, it is time to take action. There are certain things you can do to get the insurance company moving towards settlement no matter what kind of claim it is.
How to get your insurance company to do their part
Call your local insurance agent. The agent should have contacts within the insurance company to help get the claim moving again.
Call the adjuster working on your claim. If they are missing information, a call may be what they need to get the claim moving again. The sooner you prompt them to move, the sooner your claim will get resolved.
Make a complaint with the insurance company’s complaint department. Customer satisfaction is important to most companies; a complaint may get the claim moving towards a resolution.
Check your insurance policy for solutions. Most policies outline settlement of dispute options if a claim remains unsolved. Requesting arbitration may get the insurance company to get the claim rolling again.
File a complaint with your state insurance department. While they will not be able to represent you in a private matter, however, insurance companies do not like it when the state gets involved so this may persuade them to speed up the process.
Hire an independent adjuster. If the insurance company offers you a lowball settlement, an independent adjuster will be helpful. They will assess the flood claim and provide documentation explaining why you deserve a higher payout.
Hire an attorney. After doing exactly what is required of you, and going above and beyond to try and get the insurance company to do their part, its likely that your insurance company still won’t offer fair value for your flood insurance claim. If this happens to you, the next step would be to hire an attorney. Once an attorney gets involved, insurance companies are more likely to settle for a fair value. No matter what the insurance adjuster tells you, they will pay more money, even after the attorney is taken out, than what you would be able to obtain by yourself. The insurance company has no risk dealing with someone who does not have legal help. With a lawyer involved, they have risks of having to pay litigation defense costs and a possible lawsuit verdict. Due to these risks, the insurance company will act in a more fair manner. A skilled attorney will have the skills and knowledge to pursue claim settlements that you deserve.
Most importantly, don’t give up. Insurance companies count on you to give up. The fact is the insurance companies know exactly what they are doing. Fight for your rights.
How The Carlson Law Firm can help with your flood insurance claim
Here at The Carlson Law Firm, we understand the frustration and stress of dealing with insurance companies. Our skilled attorneys are prepared to fight for your rights to get you the settlement you rightfully deserve. Contact us today for a free, no obligation case evaluation. We care, we can help.
- Written by Adriana Torres