Pursuing Theft and Vandalism Claims: The Basics

When you are the victim of vandalism or burglary, these crimes bring a sense of violation of your privacy and security.  In such circumstances, homeowners usually are not excited to prove that property, which has been taken, belonged to the policyholder in the first place.  Despite the indignity of being compelled to prove you are the legitimate owner of your own property, this task is a necessary pre-requisite to the successful pursuit of an insurance claim arising out of theft or vandalism.

If you have been the victim of theft or vandalism, it is essential that you file a police report.  The police report will be used by the insurance company to confirm that you were actually the victim of a crime.  When you contact the police, you need to carefully inventory every item that was damaged or stolen.  If you inadvertently omit items when filing your police report, you need to contact the officer handling your case to update the report.  The insurance company will definitely scrutinize the items listed in the report and compare the list to those in your claim.  If they do not match up, the insurance company might allege that you are committing insurance fraud.

The next step in the process will be to prove the value of your claim.  This will involve providing documents of ownership like receipts, certificates of title, appraisals, bills of sale and similar documents that evidence your purchase or ownership.  An experienced insurance claims attorney also can help you determine the value of your property.  If you do not have receipts or similar documents to prove ownership, your insurance claims attorney can assist you in proving ownership at an examination of the insured under oath (EUO).  The insurer will raise issues about property where there is little or no documentation evidencing ownership.  An experienced Miami theft and vandalism claims attorney can protect your interests at the EUO.

An experienced insurance claims lawyer also can closely scrutinize your policy to determine what property is covered, so he can explain exclusions and limits that the insurance company might try to invoke.  Even if the insurance company attempts to avoid covering certain property by relying on such provisions, a homeowners coverage attorney provides a more reliable source of information than your insurance company, which has a financial interest in reducing the amount of compensation you receive.

The insurance company also might attempt to minimize your claim by obtaining appraisals from companies that can manipulate the replacement price of items by purchasing a significant volume.  When you work with an experienced Florida insurance claims attorney, the lawyer can protect you from these sorts of tactics.  If you have questions about vandalism and theft claims in Florida, we are here to help.  My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida.  The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations.  No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees.  Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.

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