You might assume that filing a property damage claim in Illinois is straightforward. However, many property owners experience difficulty regarding claim approval and receiving a settlement from their homeowners’ insurance that covers their damages.
Homeowners’ insurance companies can be slow to communicate, leading to significant frustration when filing a claim. Sometimes an insurance company may act in bad faith and deny your claim to avoid paying a settlement. Working with an experienced property damage lawyer can help you navigate the claims process and ensure your insurance pays what’s owed under your policy.
Explore five critical facts about Illinois property damage claims and learn how an attorney from Nessler & Associates can help get a settlement to repair your home, car, or other structure.
Documentation is Essential
Thorough documentation can help you understand your policy coverage and prove claims you make through your insurance. When signing an insurance policy, always keep documents related to your plan to refer back to if you need to make a claim. Ensure that your insurance agent sends you a digital or physical copy of your policy documents for your records.
When filing a claim for property damage, document every aspect of the damage for the insurance company. Documentation includes:
Photos of the damage (if possible, include pictures before the damage occurred)
Descriptions of the damaged items or property
Estimated cost of repairs (both from your insurance company and independent contractors)
All written communications, such as letters, emails, texts, and call logs with your insurance company
Purchase receipts or other documents related to the damaged property
Your insurance company may still deny your claim even with the necessary documentation. If this happens, you can share your papers or digital files with a property damage lawyer from Nessler & Associates. We can use your evidence to support your claim and negotiate with the insurance company to get a settlement for your damages.
Watch Your Language
While the average person might use certain words or phrases without a second thought, insurance companies have specific definitions for certain types of property damage. Misusing a term, even unknowingly, can work against you later on.
For example, a pipe in your house bursts, causing water damage and what you perceive to be flooding. You decide to file a claim with your homeowners’ insurance because it covers some types of water damage. If you repeatedly describe the incident as flooding on the phone call with your homeowners’ insurance, they may deny your claim by saying they don’t cover flood damage.
To avoid pitfalls involving the misuse of insurance industry terms, work with a property damage lawyer who understands these denial tactics. We can help you file your claim stating that a pipe burst and your house sustained water damage so you get the compensation you need to make the necessary repairs and replace damaged property.
Public and Private Adjusters May Have Ulterior Motives
If you’re dealing with an event that affected you individually, like a tree falling on your home during a storm, you’ll most likely work with an insurance adjuster. These adjusters often have the company’s interests in mind, not yours. They may undervalue your property or request records you don’t have, which can affect your claim.
If multiple properties in your neighborhood suffer property damage from one incident, you may deal with a public or independent insurance adjuster. While they’re less likely to be affiliated with specific insurance companies, they may refer you to independent contractors with whom they have a preexisting relationship and take part of your settlement as payment for their services.
It’s always a good idea to seek advice from a property damage attorney from Nessler & Associates. We can determine whether insurance adjusters are giving you an accurate quote and help you seek a reliable adjuster for your claim.
Your Policy Not Cover What You Think
It’s crucial to understand the coverages in your insurance policy, as every policy covers varying damages. Many homeowners’ insurance policies cover broad categories of damage, such as storm damage, mold damage, or damage caused by a vehicle or falling tree. However, your policy may exclude situations that cause certain damages.
For example, if you live in an area that often floods, you may assume your policy automatically covers flood damage. In most cases, you must add a special flood protection policy to be covered in the event of a flood.
If you park your car outdoors and someone hits it, you must treat it as a car accident personal injury claim and file it with your car insurance. However, if someone crashes their car into your house, the damage is covered by homeowners’ insurance.
Work with a property damage lawyer to understand what your policy covers upon signing your insurance contract. Knowing your coverage also helps you obtain the right policy additions or riders you need to fully protect your assets.
A Property Damage Attorney Can Help You Get the Best Settlement Possible
Some insurance companies are more concerned with profit than helping their clients who suffer property damage. Your insurance may offer you a low payout, unlawfully delay your settlement, or unfairly deny your claim. Even a good insurance company may undervalue your claim and fail to cover the full value of the damaged property.
When filing a claim, consulting with a property damage attorney from Nessler & Associates can help you understand your policy and get the highest settlement possible. Our knowledgeable attorneys know how insurance companies operate and can negotiate to ensure you get what you’re owed. If necessary, we can threaten legal action if your insurance acts in bad faith, so you don’t have to pay for repairs out-of-pocket. We can also help you file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Insurance and hold the company responsible for its actions.
Get Compensation for Your Property Damage Claim with Nessler & Associates
If your commercial or residential property is damaged due to storms, vandalism, fire, or another incident, contact Nessler & Associates. We can help you file or appeal your claim with the property insurance company, gather and submit evidence, and ensure you receive a settlement that reflects your entitled coverage.
At Nessler & Associates, we believe you shouldn’t have to pay due to insurance company negligence. That’s why we work on contingency, meaning you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case and get you the compensation you deserve.