If you ever have an insurance claim and are expecting your insurance company to cover damage to your home or business, it is important to preserve the evidence. You need proof that the damage you are claiming actually happened, because the insurance company needs to see it in order for them to properly document the damage and pay the claim.
We as property and business owners, have several conditions noted in our insurance policies that we must comply with, for example, “Your Duties After Loss”. This section requires that you “make reasonable and necessary repairs to protect the property”, and also “As often as we reasonably require: Show the damaged property”.
Many times, when an emergency arises (like a broken pipe that floods your property) you are understandably in a panic and trying to salvage your property. If you call a mitigation company to dry out the property in order to protect it from further damage, they may have to remove damaged building materials. Protecting your property from further damage is a requirement in your policy.
Will your insurance company penalize you for doing this before they inspect the damage? Not necessarily if the damage is properly documented. When this is not done, it becomes a he said, she said, and the insurance battle begins.
Some policies also state “Except for emergency measures, there is no coverage for repairs that begin before the earlier of (a) 72 hours after we are notified of the loss, (b) the time of loss inspection by us, or (c) the time of other approval by us”.
The burden of proof is always on you, so make sure the evidence of the damage is preserved and not discarded and that you understand what you are required to do under your insurance policy.