If your property was damaged by Hurricane Matthew, hopefully you already have a copy of the insurance policies for your property. As part of preparedness for catastrophes such as Hurricane Matthew, we urge our readers to make sure they have a copy of their policies. If you do not have a copy of the insurance policies for your property, this blog is for you. It is crucial that you request as soon as possible a complete and certified copy of your policy, including all declarations, endorsements, riders and/or changes to the policy which would affect coverage at the time of the loss.
How do you do this? You can call your agent, but a call to the insurance company is a good idea. Next, you will want to follow up that request in writing, and keep following up until you receive it.
Our good friends at United Policyholders have a sample letter on their web site you can use as a form when requesting a complete copy of your policy from your insurance carrier.
I have also seen some carriers web sites with a request form that you can fill out online.
Do you have a both homeowner’s policy and flood insurance policy? If the answer is yes, make sure that you request copies of each of these policies from both carriers.
It may sound simple, but we often see that by the time a property owner contacts us, they do not have a complete copy of their policy in their possession and what they obtained from the insurance company or what they had in their file from the agent was not the complete insurance contract. The policyholder may have just the declarations page, only have the policy booklet, or they are missing an endorsement that changes their coverage. The certified copy of the policy will contain an attestation by the insurance company that the policy and the forms are correct.
By having a complete and certified copy of your policy, including all declarations, endorsements, riders and/or changes to the policy which would affect coverage at the time of the loss, you can make sure that you are complying with any “duties after loss” that the insurance carrier requires. Further, when the insurance company sends you correspondence citing to particular policy language, you will have the complete policy handy for reference.