How to Successfully File a Claim During Holiday Season

This photo illustrates a burglary or thief breaking into a home at night through a back door during the Christmas Holiday Season.

With masses of people traveling, shopping and decorating over the holiday season, there is a higher risk of home and car burglaries, and property loss and damage than the rest of the year. To successfully file a claim in the event of a holiday emergency, follow these simple tips.

Always Contact the Authorities First

In the event of a crime, contact the local authorities before anyone else, including your insurance company. This is because the first thing the insurance company will do is ask if you called the police and what is your case number. While it usually is not mandatory to call the police in most policies, it is best to have a report because it legitimizes your claim for damages and begins the investigative process to catch the criminal.

Don’t File Too Many Claims

Filing too many claims in a short amount of time can increase your monthly premium significantly or trigger a nonrenewal. Insurance companies may not “drop” you during your policy period (except for nonpayment of premium), but they can allow the policy term to expire and refuse to renew. As a rule of thumb, only file a claim when repair and compensation costs are considerably higher than your deductible. If you can pay the difference out of pocket, it’s often better to do so. 

Keep Track of Your Case

Keep a record of all interactions with local authorities, insurance claim adjusters and repair companies. This can help you make a better case when filing and protect you against unfair claims handling practices by your insurance company. Insurance companies are the busiest around this time of the year so the more “leg work” you can do to document your claim the sooner the insurance company can make the proper claim decision.

Document Temporary Repairs

Most homeowners’ insurance policies compensate policyholders for any temporary repairs made before or immediately after filing a claim. So, remember to photograph or video the initial state of the scene to help expedite the insurance company’s decision-making process and get you the most coverage quickly.

Be Careful When Using Social Media During Vacation

Don’t advertise that your home will be unoccupied for a given length of time by posting on social media. Some insurance companies try to deny home burglary claims if the homeowners posted on social media that they were on vacation around the same time the crime occurred. They do so under a clause that indicates that homeowners must take necessary precautionary steps to protect their own property. 

Filing an insurance claim during the holidays has several challenges. Insurance companies are likely to decline more cases to ease their workload, but this can negatively affect policyholders. For the best protection of your rights, schedule an insurance dispute consultation with a trusted insurance lawyer at the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, PA.

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Written by Michael Brehne

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