10 Tips For Dealing With Insurance Coverage Hurricane Losses in Virginia Beach
When hurricanes hit, many insureds have to scramble just to preserve lives, their facilities, and their properties. Insurance coverage is not often the first consideration, but it can be an important one for rebuilding a home or business. Insureds should adopt practical approaches that can help ensure that they obtain the full extent of insurance coverage available for hurricane related losses. Here are 10 tips:
KNOW YOUR POLICIES
Know how policy provisions work together and when coverage starts, for example, from actual physical inception of loss or from a specified time before a hurricane arrives.
NOTIFY THE INSURERS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Have methods in place to reach out to insurers as soon as it becomes apparent that there is, or may even be a loss.
KEEP CRITICAL DOCUMENT COPIES IN SEPARATE LOCATIONS
Keep insurance policies or copies, including endorsements, in safe, separate locations. Electronic copies should be considered and always backed up on site. Video documentation helps.
WATCH THE ATTORNEY/CLIENT PRIVILEGE
Remember that in many jurisdictions, communications with an insurance broker are not necessarily subject to the attorney/client privilege.
CHECK PROVISIONS REGARDING ADJUSTMENT EXPENSES
Many policies provide that loss adjustment expenses may be insured. There are limitations on this coverage, however, including dollar limitations and in many instances, limitations that preclude or limit coverage if professionals providing loss-adjustment services are also serving in the role as an "advocate" for coverage.
Maintain detailed records of various losses and expenses incurred in dealing with the claim.
POLICIES FOR DEADLINES AND OTHER TIME STAMPS
Many policies require that proofs of loss be provided within a period of days (often 30, 60 or 90 days) from inception of the loss. Policies also typically contain contractual limitations, that is, provisions that require that any suit be instituted within a specific period (often one or two years) from inception of the loss. In case of doubt, obtain a written agreement with the insurer extending or waiving the period, and make sure that the agreement is enforceable under the controlling law.
COMPLY WITH EXAMINATION UNDER OATH REQUESTS
Most policies require the insured's submit to an examination under oath. In most jurisdictions, examination under oath requirements are strictly enforced and failure to comply may result in a loss of coverage.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE
Consult with accountants and insurance restoration specialists, as well as others with experience in dealing with hurricane losses, valuation, and business interruption questions.
DO NOT TAKE "NO" FOR AN ANSWER
At least, do not take no for an answer without checking and verifying. States vary in how the determination is made as to what law governs a given policy of a given loss. Furthermore, insurers act in good faith but out of town adjusters may not know the state law, the drafting history behind the language in their policies, or all of the case law and arguments that can be made for coverage that might not be apparent in the first instance.