BY Jennifer E. King for Lawyers.com
Each state has laws governing insurance companies, and those laws give the insurance policyholder and the insurance company the right to reopen closed insurance claims within a certain period of time. In most states, you'll have between 1 and 5 years to reopen a claim after it's been closed.
Why Reopen a Claim?
When working with the insurance company adjuster to file your initial claim, it's not uncommon to inadvertently omit damage or possessions that you should have claimed. For example, if you're filing a claim in the middle of winter, you may forget to claim your summer sport equipment. When the adjuster and contractors examine your home's damage, some problems may not be immediately apparent. In cases like this, you may need to supplement your initial claim or reopen a closed claim.
If you think you were entitled to more money under the terms of the insurance policy, for example, you were reimbursed at actual cost value when you should have been reimbursed at replacement cost, you'll also be entitled to reopen the insurance claim.
Lastly, if your insurance claim was denied, and you think you are entitled to money, then you'll want to reopen the claim.
Questions for Your Attorney
If you need to reopen your claim, it may make sense to work with an insurance claims attorney and/or a public adjuster.
Insurance claims attorneys specialize in working with homeowners and renters who believe they are entitled to more money under the terms of their insurance policy. Your lawyer will understand the language in your policy, claim and settlement documents, and will be able to spot areas where you deserve more money. The attorney may work with a public adjuster (also known as an independent adjuster). This is an insurance adjuster who works as an advocate for you. In contrast, the adjuster who first worked on your claim was paid for by your insurance company. A public adjuster will work with you and your attorney to maximize the value of your claim.
When meeting with your attorney, consider asking the following questions:
- Do you have experience handling cases similar to mine?
- After reviewing my policy and claim, do you see areas where I could recover additional money?
- How long do I have to reopen my claim?
Related Resources on Lawyers.comsm
- Dealing with Insurance Companies
- What is My Claim Worth?
- Homeowner's Insurance FAQ
- Find an Insurance Lawyer
in your area
- Visit our Insurance Claims message board
for more help