If you’ve been underpaid or denied by your insurer, you can potentially reopen the property damage claim to get the coverage you deserve. Insurance companies may try to intimidate you into thinking the case is closed, but there may be a chance to fight back!
As property damage attorneys, we regularly help homeowners get their deserved settlement. One way to do this is to ‘reopen’ a case that seems closed. Here’s how it’s done:
Can You Reopen Property Damage Claims?
Yes. After you’ve filed a property damage insurance claim, you may receive a letter, email or call from your insurance company stating ‘ The file is now closed’. This can happen whether you’ve been paid, underpaid or denied.
What this really means is that the insurance company is finished dealing with your claim. They believe it’s dealt with.
But that doesn’t actually mean it’s closed and game over. You don’t have to live with the insurer’s decision if you’re not happy. In reality, you can always contest a settlement offer or denial.
This can be done without an attorney by calling your insurer, but the task will be difficult. They’ll likely keep telling you the case is closed or start to be even more difficult than before.
So, what can you do?
How to Reopen a Property Damage Claim
1. Consider Contacting a Property Damage Lawyer
The first and best thing you should do is to contact property damage lawyer. Our lawyers have experience working in the insurance industry and know the tricks they get up to.
We will reach out to the insurance companies to reopen the property damage claim and ensure they don’t sweep your case under the rug. Having an attorney on your side can often get the insurance company to change its mind fast.
Attorneys know how to outthink insurance companies, so you can relax knowing you’ll get the maximum possible settlement and won’t face manipulation, delays, gaslighting and further denial.
2. Review Your Homeowners Insurance Policy
By reviewing your homeowner’s insurance policy, you can gain a clear understanding of your property damage coverage, exclusions and limits.
For example, if you’re unhappy and confused at a lowball offer or low settlement, then you should:
- Review your claim and settlement letter.
- Check your policy to see if the cited exclusions are legitimate and fit your claim.
- If needed, contact your insurance company for clarification.
- Keep records of your conversations, including the names of the employees and everything discussed.
- If you talk on the phone, send a follow-up email summarizing the call to clarify any misunderstandings.
3. Send a Letter
If you disagree with the company’s decision, you can reopen the property damage claim by sending a letter via certified mail to the claims adjuster. This letter should explain why you disagree and detail anything you feel was missed or underestimated.
You should provide as much evidence as possible, such as local contractor estimates and photos. You can also request a re-inspection of the property.
The insurer may reject or intimidate you. They may even say that you risk losing the original offer. If they say that, then remember – it isn’t true. If in doubt, contact a property damage attorney for professional assistance.
4. What to Do if the Insurance Company Won’t Budge?
If the insurance company still isn’t swaying their opinion after your efforts, and you still haven’t received professional legal support – then now is the time.
They will aggressively fight on your behalf to get the maximum possible settlement. If the insurance company has been treating you unfairly, with bad faith tactics such as delays, lies and manipulation, then a lawsuit may be a possibility.
In almost all cases, claimants make more money with the help of a property damage lawyer (even with the fees), than they would without.
5. Mitigate Further Damage
Many people looking to reopen property damage claims still have unrepaired areas of the home. You must mitigate further damage where possible. If you don’t, you could see your settlement denied or reduced.
Common examples include:
- Boarding up broken windows and doors.
- Locking windows and doors.
- Turning off appliances that are at threat to the elements.
- Parking your car away from damaged roof tiles or trees.
- Turn off the water in your home if there is a leak.
Naturally, some damage is more significant than others. For example, if there is a large hole in the roof, then your insurance company should help you get temporary repairs until a permanent fix can be made.
6. Stay Organized
At this point, you’ve probably got a mountain of paperwork regarding your property damage claim. It’s only going to get bigger. Stay organized to avoid getting manipulated by your insurer!
- Retain all records of calls, emails and letters.
- Ask for employee names during your call.
- Keep receipts of any damaged items, replaced items, repairs or contractor work.
- Keep records of any quotes for repair or contractor work.
- Log claims, dates, policy citations, call times and other key information.
- Take photographs of the damage if it gets worse.
Related: Read our guide on How to Handle a Hurricane Property Damage Claim.
How to Find a Reputable Property Damage Attorney
- They must be local to your state, to know the specific property damage laws in your jurisdiction. For example, if you live in Florida, you should only use a Florida property damage attorney.
- They’re part of a long-standing and highly rated law firm.
- They have flawless Google reviews.
- They work on a no-fee up-front basis.
- They have experience working in the insurance industry too.
- They specialize in property damage claims.
Hire a Florida Property Damage Attorney Today
If you’re looking to reopen a property damage claim in Florida, then contact us today.
Attorney Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage claim team nationally ranked by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.
Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help you navigate a denied or underpaid insurance claim.
Regardless of your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.