If you weren’t fully compensated during your initial claim, reopening it could help get you the funds you deserve

A good insurance policy is one of the best ways to limit your family’s financial exposure when disaster strikes. Typically, after an accident, damage, or injury has occurred, you’ll want to file a claim with your insurance company. After that, consistent with the details of your policy, you’ll receive a payment that covers the cost of the damage, up to the limit of your coverage (and minus deductibles of course).

However, not all damage from an accident or natural disaster is obvious when someone files a claim. Often, policyholders will only realize the true extent of the damage or injuries to a home or vehicle weeks, months, or years after they’ve received their initial payment. This gap between the payment and the true amount of accident damages covered can leave many individuals forced to pay out of pocket for something that was covered under their policy– unless, of course, they reopen their claim with their insurance company.

Re-opening a claim with your insurance agent can seem tricky at first, but it’s the best way to make sure you aren’t stuck dipping into your own wallet to pay for damages that you simply didn’t notice– or couldn’t have seen earlier. Here’s how to do it.

Each state’s laws on reopening a claim are slightly different, so be sure to check all laws and regulations to understand your rights as a policyholder

Each state has different regulations about how and when claims can be re-opened, so it’s important to check these out before attempting to re-open an insurance claim. Some of the most common re-opened claims involve either homeowners or car insurance policies, likely because these insurance policies are so widespread and directly protect property and car owners against a variety of disasters. Other often reopened insurance claims involve different kinds of supplemental insurance, such as hurricane, flood, and fire insurance policies. For example, Florida residents have ‘three years from landfall’ to reopen a hurricane insurance claim. Depending on your state laws, rules, and regulations may vary depending on the type of insurance claim you are trying to reopen– so it’s important to check specifics.

Policyholders usually have up to 5 years to reopen a claim

When it comes to re-opening an insurance claim, time is of the essence. The earlier you reopen a claim after your initial claim, the easier it is to prove that the newfound damages in question directly resulted from same accident or incident that was addressed by the original payout. There is also a legal limit to the time after which a claim can be re-opened. In most states this limit is 5 years, but it may be considerably less in some states, or for some types of insurance. Either way, the quicker you reopen a claim, the easier it will be to get through the process without serious headaches.

Carefully document and collect visual and written evidence for both the original claim and the reopened claim

If you want to successfully reopen an insurance claim, you’ll need significant documentation of the accident or disaster damage, as well as a lot of the paperwork filed during your initial claim. Of course, you’ll also need new evidence for why you’re reopening the claim. In many cases this can involve paperwork, documents, photographs, and videos.

Collectively, this evidence needs to demonstrate that you were not fully paid by the insurance company for the damage that resulted in your initial claim. It also needs to show that none of the damages you are now attempting to charge your insurer for occurred at a later date, (i.e. after the initial claim) and that they were directly a result of the initial damages.

If you’re considering reopening a claim, do your research and contact your insurance agent in a timely manner

You may not be able to control whether your insurance company agrees to reopen your claim and give you a larger payout, but you can do several things to make it more likely. Being prepared, contacting your insurance agent as soon as possible, and ensuring that you have sufficient documentation of both stages of your claim are all essential to be certain you get the insurance payout you deserve.

To learn more about how to make your insurance policies work for you and your family, contact Avante Insurance today for a free consultation.