Preparing a property damage claim isn’t difficult. However, neglecting certain aspects can result in your claim being dismissed by your insurer. Here are a few rules of thumb to guide you.
File with Your Insurer First
If you’re insured, it goes without saying that you should file your claim with your insurer instead of against the third party who caused the damage. This is because moving against a third party will inevitably lead to a protracted court battle.
On the other hand, insurers are generally time conscientious and expedient. Notify your insurer of the potential claim promptly, as doing so increases the likelihood of your claim being successful.
If you haven’t filed your claim within a certain period of time, you will automatically forfeit your right to do so. Because prescription periods differ from place to place, it would be wise to file as soon as possible to avoid complications.
Mitigation of Damages
Apply for a prohibitory interdict to prevent further damage to your property. An interdict is a court process instituted to stop a person from interfering with your property rights.
But there’s a flipside to that. You also need to take responsibility and not contribute to further damage. In this case, you should exercise reasonable care with your property to prevent it from deteriorating further. Failure to do so can result in your claim being reduced when it comes to the quantification of damages.
Proof of Damage and Loss
Hold it right there! I know you can’t stand the sight of your damaged roof or shattered windows, but don’t carry out repairs until you’ve gathered all evidence that will be required to prove damage and loss.
Take pictures with timestamps as that will provide strong documentary evidence of damage if you have to fight your case in a court of law.
Get an Attorney Right Away
Never underestimate how hard it is to file a successful property damage claim. It may seem straightforward to you, but things can change pretty quickly when your insurer starts playing hardball.
Insurance is a business, and like all businesses, the idea is to make profit. They lose money when people file claims, and sometimes, a lot of it. Quite naturally, they’ll come up with defenses against your claim with the hope that they don’t have to part ways with large sums of money.
Having a property damage attorney by your side will certainly help your cause as attorneys have an intimate knowledge of the law of damages, which will prove beneficial when insurers start stuttering and ignoring your calls.
Present and Future Loss
The law relating to damages is fairly complicated. In fact, that’s watering it down. For businesses that experience damage to premises, present loss is not where the rubber hits the road as there’s the aspect of future loss. Yes, you’ve incurred loss already; however, damage to property can mean loss of business profit going into the foreseeable future. It is your right to claim for loss of future earnings or loss of earning capacity.