Johnstone Carroll, LLC
Always a Free Initial Consultation
F. Inge Johnstone
Pursuing Justice for the Injured

Do's And Don'ts Of Dealing With The Insurance Company On Your Property Claim

What to Expect

After you have notified the insurance company of your loss, the insurance company will assign an adjuster or claims representative to your claim. This person will be the person who makes the initial determination on whether your claim gets paid or not. Contrary to the TV commercials, your insurance agent will have little or no control of this decision.

Next, the adjuster usually will make an appointment to view the damaged property. However, if you have an auto claim, the adjuster might just ask you to provide documentation to the insurance company and get an estimate, possibly at an "approved" garage. The claims representative will ask you questions about the loss and may ask you to give a recorded statement. The claims representative may hire other experts, such as engineers, fire investigators, or appraisers. Keep in mind that these people often do a great deal of work for the insurance company and will not necessarily have your best interests at stake.

If you have a homeowner's claim or commercial property claim, you will need to fill out a form called a proof of loss form. Always be completely honest on your proof of loss form. The insurance companies have sophisticated computer programs that assist them with determining what they will pay for a loss. For instance, most insurance companies use a program called Xactimate to determine the cost of repairing a home. Insurance companies also have computer programs that give them prices on the contents of homes such as electronics, furniture, and clothing.

The insurance company might also ask you to sit for an examination under oath. In an examination under oath, the insurance company will ask you to gather together certain documents, including phone records and sensitive financial information, and then will hire an attorney to ask you questions in the presence of a court reporter. Be sure to be completely honest and do not guess. You also have the right to have an attorney present.

After conducting its investigation, the insurance company will decide to either pay the claim or not to pay the claim. If they decide not to pay the claim, you should make sure to get a written denial letter explaining the reasons why they have not pay the claim. If the insurance company denies the claim or does not pay the full amount, you may have the right to challenge them in court.

Things to Do:

· Notify the Insurance Company of the Loss As Soon As Possible

· Take Pictures of the Loss

· Take Steps to Prevent Further Damage If You Can

· Make a List of Lost or Damaged Items

· Gather Receipts and Other Backup for the Items You Have Lost

· Keep All Receipts for Remediation, Repair, and Emergency Living Expenses

· Get a Copy of Your Declarations Page and Policy Booklet

· Get Estimates for Any Damages

· Keep All Correspondence from the Insurance Company

· Keep Copies of Items That You Sent to the Insurance Company. Use email, if possible.

· Cooperate with Reasonable Requests by the Insurance Company.

· If You Have Any Questions, Call Us

Thinks Not to Do

· Don't Claim Any Items That You Have Not Lost or Which Have Not Been Damaged

· Don't Exaggerate the Value of Any Items

· Don't Lie

· Don't Make Major Cleanup or Repairs before the Adjuster Has Documented the Loss

· Don't Guess. If You Don't Know, Just Say You Don't Know.

· Don't Be Derogatory, or Use Foul Or Abusive Language With The Adjuster Or Claims Representatives.

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Johnstone Carroll, LLC
2204 Lakeshore Drive 
Suite 303
Homewood, AL 35209
Phone: 205-383-1809
Fax: 888-759-3882
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