Broker Check

Pitfalls in Property Claims, and How to Avoid Them

August 17, 2021

Attorneys Ashley Jordan and Christopher Kuleba of Reed Smith LLP have identified six areas of concern when filing a property claim, with tips to avoid problems. Their post is on

1. Notice: Insurers must be notified promptly as required by policy terms and state law.  A first notice must be sent as soon as possible to avoid rejection due to late notice 

  • The notice should contain as much information as needed to establish a loss, reserving the right to submit more information as it becomes available.

2. Proof of loss will be required within a time period specified in the policy.

  • The period may be extended by state law.
  • If needed, insureds should request additional time.
  • Ask the insurer for a proof of loss form; if it does not fit the loss circumstances get permission to customize or supplement it.
  • If the loss is still being investigated at the submission deadline, submit the proof as preliminary subject to change.
  • If the insurer makes a partial payment, do not sign a release that will foreclose future payments. Confirm that accepting a payment does not foreclose your right to additional payments. 

3. Document requests: The insurer is allowed to inspect an insured's  books, records and other documents.

  • The request must be reasonable. Some states require the insurer to explain the request.
  • Insureds can ask the insurer to review documents onsite and copy what is needed.
  • Require a confidentiality agreement when needed.

4. Supplemental claims may have to be made based on updated information. 

  • Be sure to observe any time limits in the policy or state law.

5.Deadlines to repair or replace: Repair or replacement must be made within a specified time to be covered for replacement cost. 

  • Check state law for deadline extensions.
  • Submit a request for an extension if repair or replacement is  unavoidably delayed.

6. Suit limitations: Suits are barred if not filed within a limited period.

  • The period may be extended by sate law.
  • If the insurer is still considering the claim, the period may be extended.
  • The best strategy may be to file suit before a deadline.