Can a Closed Homeowners Insurance Claim Be Reopened?
Once closed, a homeowner’s insurance claim may be reopened if new evidence or information regarding the claim becomes available. Depending on the specifics of the situation, a reopened claim can result in an increased settlement for the policyholder. Keep reading to learn more.
How Can You Reopen Closed Insurance Claims?
Can a closed insurance claim be reopened? The answer is yes, under the right circumstances. After you’ve filed a property damage insurance claim, you may receive a communication, such as a letter or an email, from your insurance company stating that ‘the file is now closed.’ This could happen regardless of whether you have been paid, denied, or otherwise.
What does this mean, though, really? Little more than that, the insurance has determined not to deal with your claim any further. However, you don’t have to just accept the insurance company’s decision if you don’t feel it’s the right one. In reality, nothing can stop you from contesting the notice of closure, as we discuss below.
Reasons to Reopen a Closed Insurance Claim
There are some good and valid reasons for reopening your claim, and the most important one is to get you paid for your damage. Reopening a claim with your insurance agent may seem difficult at first, but it’s the best way to avoid using your own money to cover losses that you either couldn’t foresee or didn’t notice right away.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the mounting doctor’s bills, repair bills, or other related costs, in addition to lost time working, distress and mental anguish, and the multitude of other consequences of suffering property damage or destruction. But pursuing your insurance carrier for a settlement is one of the ways that you can offset these losses, regain your strength, and work towards recovery. This can be an affirming outcome at the end of a challenging period of your life.
How Long Do You Have to Reopen an Insurance Claim?
Time is of the essence when it comes to reopening an insurance claim, as the more time passes, the harder it becomes to connect consequential and subsequent losses to the initial damage or destruction suffered. For this reason, a restriction of approximately one year is generally applied to the reopening of most insurance claims.
Steps to Reopen a Claim
When deciding can a closed insurance claim be reopened, these steps will help you along the way:
- Review Your Insurance Policy: Since the insurance policy is a contract, this is a task best handled with lawyer assistance. But the bottom line is there may be a clause in your contract that the insurance company missed, misinterpreted, or shouldn’t be able to enforce due to fairness considerations.
- Contact a Homeowners Insurance Claim Lawyer: The first and best thing you should do is to contact an insurance lawyer who can help you reopen your property damage claim. Insurance attorneys like the ones at MMA Law Firm have just as much experience as the insurance companies do and just as much expertise. We can match insurance companies blow for blow when fighting for your claim.
- Send a Letter to the Claims Adjuster: If you disagree with your insurance company’s decision, you can attempt to reopen your claim by sending a letter via certified mail explaining why you disagree and what you feel wasn’t justified or explained, or was left out or not considered.
- Keep Written Records of Everything: At any stage of the process of dealing with an insurance company, it is important to communicate in writing. This both keeps the negotiations professional and creates a reference library or a record in the event that things change against your favor later in negotiations. The ‘get that in writing rule’ should encompass everything – including your efforts to reopen a closed insurance claim.
- Mitigate Damages: If you’re looking to reopen a property damage claim, you should move ahead with making repairs and preventing further damage. For example, for a home, you should board up broken windows and doors, turn off the electricity and other utilities, remove any expensive non-damaged property, and move your car to a safe distance from danger.
What to Do When Your Insurance Company Won’t Work with You
How can your claim be reopened if your insurance company just refuses to work with you? The answer is to hire an insurance claims attorney. Nine times out of ten, insureds make more money with the assistance of an attorney in reopening their claim than they do on their own, and that includes the attorney’s fees.
Hire a Trusted Insurance Claims Attorney Today
As professionals who help clients interpret insurance policies, understand their rights, and recover on their losses every day, the Houston homeowners insurance claim lawyers at MMA Law Firm are well positioned to help clients negotiate with their insurance companies.
This blog published by MMA Law Firm is available for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice on any subject matter. The content available on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.