Filing an insurance claim should be straightforward. You make the claim. The insurance company verifies the loss. The insurance company pays the claim. Seems pretty simple, right? The reality is very different. Some insurance companies are notorious for not paying claims in a timely manner.
If you are trying to get an insurance company to pay a claim, and they keep stalling, you can do certain things to speed up the process.
How Do You Know Your Claim is Stalled?
If insurance companies had their way, they would likely take years to pay out a simple claim. Fortunately, most states have protections in place that require insurers to pay homeowners’ claims within a defined period of time. The grace period is usually 30 to 45 days after you make the claim, with some extensions letting it go up to 60 days. After that point, the insurance company could face financial penalties as well as owe you interest on the claim once they pay it.
Unfortunately, these protections are not often available to commercial, industrial, or agricultural insurance claimants. In some cases, these claims can end up taking months or even years to settle. And if there are any problems with the insurance company’s offer, it can take even longer to negotiate a settlement or have the courts determine the outcome.
No matter what kind of claim it is, there are certain things you can do to get the insurance company moving towards a settlement.
Make Sure You Are Doing Your Part
There are a couple of actions you need to take to keep your claim moving forward.
- Get your documentation together. You need a file which contains pictures of the damage, reports from the adjuster, estimates for repair, etc. It is quite common for adjusters to forget to ask for certain documentation, necessary for them to close the claim. Being organized on your side will help expedite their documentation requests.
- Respond to all requests promptly. It is actually quite common for consumers not to respond to requests for information or documentation promptly. They have a lot going on and forget about that letter they got from the insurance company. Any delay on the part of the consumer offers an excuse for the insurance company to stall the claim and delay payout.
Get the Insurance Company to Do Their Part
If you are doing your part, and the insurance company is not doing theirs, it is time to start prompting them to take action:
- Call your local insurance agent. The agent often has contacts within the insurance company to help get stalled claims moving again.
- Call the adjuster. If the adjuster is missing information or has let a claim languish, a call may help get the claim moving again. If one call doesn’t do it, be the squeaky wheel and keep calling until the adjuster does something.
- Contact the insurance company’s complaint department. Insurance companies depend on consumer satisfaction. A well-placed complaint may get the claim unstuck and moving towards resolution.
- Check your insurance policy for solutions. Most policies outline arbitration options if a claim remains unresolved. Even requesting such arbitration may get the insurer to start taking action.
- File a complaint with your state insurance department. Insurance companies do not like the state to become involved.
- Bring in an independent adjuster. This is particularly useful if the insurance company wants to settle the claim too low and refusing to negotiate a higher payout. The independent adjuster can assess the claim and provide documentation as to why you deserve a higher payout.
If none of these suggestions work, and the insurance company is still stalling, the final step to take the case to court. This involves hiring an attorney, filing suit, and waiting on a court date.
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, take action. The faster you prompt them to move, the faster your claim will get resolved.
If you need help getting your claim rolling again, call the experts at Commercial Claim Pro at 877-877-6612.
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