If you own a condo, you are probably hoping never to have to file a condo insurance claim. But accidents and disasters do happen, so a policy that will cover you for unexpected loss is invaluable.
If you suffer property loss or damage covered by your policy, you can receive compensation for your losses by filing a claim. Having an independent agent working with you can make filing your condo insurance claim even easier.
If you are just starting to look for condo insurance or if you are checking to see if your current coverage is adequate, contact an independent insurance agent to get free, personalized quotes. Your agent will help you navigate the claims process. Find a local agent today.
Homeowners Insurance Claims Statistics
- 1 in 20 homeowners files a claim each year.
- The most expensive claims are for damage caused by fire or lightning.
- The average theft claim results in $4,391 in property loss.
What to Know about Filing Condo Insurance Claims
Condo insurance, also known has HO-6 insurance, is designed to cover damage or injuries that occur inside your home. A condo association’s master policy typically covers damage to the structure of the building and the common areas.
Sometimes, however, it may be hard to determine which policy should cover damage to your living space.
If a leaky roof causes damage to your condominium’s walls or carpeting, your policy and the condo association’s master policy may be responsible for covering the damage jointly.
It is important to know the terms of the master policy for your association. When you feel it may be time to file a claim, contact your condo association representatives, because the two insurance companies may need to work together.
Be Prepared Before You Need to File a Condo Insurance Claim
You can ease the claims process significantly by being vigilant. As a policyholder, be fully aware of what your insurance plan does and doesn't cover. It is a good idea to have a copy of your condo insurance policy in a safe place so that you can easily refer to the terms when you need to.
Insurance professionals recommend maintaining a detailed list of all your personal belongings and their values. Keep receipts for expensive purchases such as furniture and electronics with your important files. If possible, walk through your home with a video camera and fully document all of your belongings.
In the event of a major loss, such as a fire, having this documentation can help ensure that you are properly reimbursed.
The amount you receive after a claim will depend on whether you have replacement value coverage or actual cash value coverage (depreciated value), and whether you have policy addendums, called riders, that list specific items of value.
It is a good idea to keep your important papers and inventory documentation in a safe deposit box or fireproof safe. You can even scan all the documents and store them safely on a thumb drive or in online storage (sometimes called cloud-based storage).
That way, even if all the contents of your home are destroyed, your information will be easily accessible.
What to Do in a Disaster
The most important thing to remember is to stay safe in a condo fire or tornado. Do not try to retrieve your valuables if doing so puts you at risk. If it is safe, however, collect your important papers and most valuable items to protect them from damage.
If anyone is injured on your property, be sure to record important details about the injury. Remember also to record the names of any witnesses and as much information about the events leading to the injury as possible.
Work closely with the authorities to record what occurred and request a copy of any police reports, since you will need these documents if you file a condo fire insurance claim or a condo burglary claim.
How to File a Condo Insurance Claim
To file a claim on your condo insurance, you can take the following steps:
- Make note of the time and date of the incident.
- Document all the damage with photographs or a video.
- Write a detailed list of all personal property that was damaged or stolen, as well as each item’s estimated value.
- Call your insurance agent or company; in most cases, you will be assigned a claims adjuster.
- If your loss involves damage that requires repairs, you may want to get several estimates from reputable contractors for the work to be done.
- Ask a contractor to be present when the claims adjuster arrives to assess the damage to your condo.
If it is a simple matter to determine the value of your loss, the adjuster may give you a check on the spot. However, if there is a need for additional information or research, you may not receive payment right away.
When Are Condo Insurance Claims Denied?
The most common reason for a condo insurance claim to be denied is that the policyholder is making a claim for damage that is not covered by the policy.
Remember that flood damage or damage to belongings not covered by your condo insurance will result in a total loss if you're not carrying appropriate insurance endorsements. Having a detailed understanding of your policy beforehand can save you time and frustration.
Occasionally, the insurance company may suspect fraud. If the insurer suspects that the damage is really caused by your negligence and not a tornado, for example, they may reject your claim.
Insurance companies may also suspect insurance fraud when policyholders claim the loss of expensive items for which they have no documentation. This is why it's so important to keep photographs and receipts for your valuables.
If you feel that your claim has been unjustly denied, you can appeal the decision. As a policyholder, you are entitled to have visits from three different claims adjusters. You can also file an appeal with the Department of Insurance (DOI) in your state, or hire a lawyer to argue your case.
Be prepared to have as much backup documentation as possible when appealing.
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Have an Agent on Your Side
An independent agent can advise you throughout the claims process and will advocate for you in dealings with the insurance company.
Contact an independent insurance agent in your area to learn more about condo insurance. These agents will help you find the best coverage and rates for your unique needs and help you to navigate the claims process with ease in the event of a loss.
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