DON’T give any recorded or written statements to your insurer until you are sure you understand your coverage. Remember you are not required to allow the insurance company to record your telephone conversation. If you have doubts, do consult an attorney.
DON’T automatically accept the estimate or appraisal of your losses given to you by the insurer. Insurance companies will often try to get you to accept their estimator’s or contractor’s repair or replacement estimates, which might be a bit low. DON’T sign any releases or waivers of any kind until you obtain legal advice. A bad financial situation after a major loss may make it seem necessary for you accept a premature, inadequate settlement from your insurer. But you may remember destroyed items after you have signed a release as to payment for your personal property inventory or other claims. For these reasons, it is advisable to consult an attorney before signing a release or waiver. Be sure to read the fine print on any payment from the insurance company.
DON’T accept any check that says “final payment” unless you are ready to do so.
DON’T ignore time limits set by your policy. Most policies require a signed proof of loss within a certain time limit. Be sure you comply with this requirement unless you obtain a written waiver from your insurance company. Many policies allow you only one year from the date of loss in which to bring a legal action if your claim has not been adjusted fairly. If your claim has not been settled to your satisfaction eleven months after your loss, consult an attorney immediately. A failure to do so could result in the loss of your right to sue.
DON’T forget that you have a contract with your insurer. Your insurer has a legal obligation to provide the coverage it promised to you. Be insistent about enforcing that obligation.