An Insurance Guide for Your Jersey Shore Real Estate, Part III

This third portion of your guide to homeowners insurance gives you information you hope you’ll never use–dealing with damage to your Jersey Shore real estate. Most likely your policy will explain how to file a claim, but here are the basic steps:

  1. If a crime has been committed, report it to the police. You should get a copy of the police report.
  2. Contact your insurance agent or company immediately.
  3. If necessary, try to protect your property from further damage. Save your receipts.
  4. Don’t dispose of damaged items until the adjuster has seen them.
  5. Prepare a list of damaged items. Take pictures of the damage. (Now aren’t you glad you made an inventory list/video?)
  6. Get the appropriate claim forms and fill them out completely. Return them within the time limit.

If you encounter problems (such as denial or inaction within a reasonable period of time) settling your insurance claim for your Jersey Shore real estate, you can follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you can support your case with documentation. Be prepared to send copies with any letters. Keep the original documents, such as estimates and receipts and only send copies. Also keep copies of all letters.
  2. Be prepared to document each phone call. Note the date and time of each conversation and name of each person you talked to.
  3. Review your policy to see if it contains information on resolving disputes or appealing a claim denial.
  4. Talk with your agent or company representative. If they can’t solve the problem then get the name and phone number of the company’s claims manager.
  5. Send a letter explaining your problem including copies of supporting documentation to the company claims manager.
  6. If your problem still isn’t satisfactorily resolved, then contact your state insurance department and file a complaint. Locate your state insurance web site using the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) web site.
  7. As a last resort, you may want to consult an attorney. Make sure you choose an attorney that specializes in homeowners insurance. Be prepared to pay a consultation fee and get the fee structure in writing before pursuing the case.

Reducing the Need for Claims

To reduce the chances of having to file a claim at all, use common sense when it comes to installing and maintaining smoke, carbon monoxide, and motion detectors, cleaning chimneys and wood stoves on a regular basis, and keeping a dry chemical fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Rely on deadbolt locks and an alarm system for protection against theft and use space heaters with caution. Your policy may contain clauses or conditions that specify other reasons that could void portions or all of your coverage. Examples include failure to report claims promptly, failure to cooperate fully with the insurance company, and failure to protect the property from further loss. Another example would be using your home for a business (perhaps even providing informal but regular childcare for three or four children not your own) not specifically included in the policy. Make sure you read your policy carefully to determine what the conditions are.

An insurance company may also cancel or refuse to renew your coverage or raise your premiums if for any reason the property no longer meets their underwriting criteria. For example, perhaps the building has grown too old or the zoning has changed, or you have in some way increased your liability exposure trampoline to the yard). Filing too many claims, in many cases, may also lead to cancellation.

Word of Caution

And a word to the wise about keeping your policy in effect. An insurance company can cancel your policy for non-payment of premiums, fraud, or misrepresentation. Your policy may contain clauses or conditions that specify other reasons that could void portions or all of your coverage. Examples include failure to report claims promptly, failure to cooperate fully with the insurance company, and failure to protect the property from further loss. Another example would be using your home for a business (perhaps even providing informal but regular childcare for three or four children not your own) not specifically included in the policy. Make sure you read your policy An insurance company may also cancel or refuse to renew your coverage or raise your premiums if for any reason the property no longer meets their underwriting criteria. For example, perhaps the building has grown too old or the zoning has changed, or you have in some way increased your liability exposure. Filing too many claims, in many cases, may also lead to cancellation.

An Insurance Guide For Your Jersey Shore Real Estate, Part II

An Insurance Guide For Your Jersey Shore Real Estate – Part I

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About Patrick Parker Realty

Patrick Parker Realty, an independent boutique brokerage located in the heart of Bradley Beach is your local market leader. We understand the demands of a changing real estate market and avail ourselves of the latest industry information and tools to ensure excellent results. Our Commitment to You Our seasoned Real Estate Agents are committed to providing all of our clients, from first time sellers to veteran real estate investors, quality and friendly service. We walk you through every step of the sale process offering the guidance, feedback, and expertise needed to ensure your complete satisfaction.
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