Avoid These Common Date of Loss Mistakes: A Guide for Public Adjusters
As a public adjuster, you play a crucial role in helping policyholders navigate the insurance claim process.
This week’s blog post is brought to you by Black Diamond Housing Services, The Farber Law Firm, and Noble Tax Strategies.
Choosing the correct date of loss or DOL is a critical step in this process, and it impacts the validity of the claim and the amount of compensation the policyholder receives.
In this blog post, you will learn;
👉 What you should consider when choosing the date of loss,
👉 Common DOL mistakes public adjusters make,
👉Additional tips that can help your clients receive full compensation for the damages.
Let us get started and equip you with the knowledge to close claims successfully!
What is the Date of Loss, and Why is it Important to Public Adjusters?
The date of loss refers to the date when an event or incident occurred that resulted in property damage or loss covered by an insurance policy.
It is the starting point for calculating the time limit for filing a claim, the deadline for submitting proof of loss, and the time frame for completing the claim process.
The date of loss is critical in determining the validity of an insurance claim.
If you have been reading out training material, you will know insurance companies only consider sudden and accidental damage.
The date of loss helps you prove both.
Additionally, insurance companies require that policyholders report claims within a certain period after the date of loss, which usually differs from state to state and carrier to carrier.
Failing to report a loss promptly can result in a claim being denied, delayed, or underpaid. And the proof of loss deadline is typically calculated from the date of loss.
On the other hand, public adjusters also use the date of loss to calculate the time limit for filing a lawsuit against the insurer if the insurance company denies the claim.
Finally, selecting the correct date of loss is critical to ensure that the claim process runs smoothly.
3 Things to Consider When Choosing the Date of Loss
Three basic date of loss factors public adjusters should consider are; the policy effective date, discovery date, and the proof of loss deadline.
The policy effective date is the date when the insurance policy comes into effect. This date is essential in determining whether the insurance policy covers the loss.
It suffices to say that if the loss occurred before the policy effective date, the claim will be denied.
The discovery date is the date when the policyholder discovered the loss or damage.
In some cases, the date of loss and the discovery date may differ, especially when the damage is not immediately apparent.
For example, you will hardly notice a pinhole leak until the damage spreads enough to leave brown stains or ruin your wooden floors.
Finally, the proof of loss deadline is the date by which the policyholder, or a public adjuster in their place, must submit proof of loss to the insurer.
The proof of loss deadline is typically calculated from the date of loss, and failure to submit proof of loss within the deadline may result in a reduced payout or a claim denial.
As a rule of thumb, you should submit the proof of loss as soon as possible.
Even if an insurance company gives you 30 or 60 days, submit it in a week or two to move the claim forward as fast as possible.
That is what we do at Elite Resolutions and what you will hear many speakers repeat at one of our meet-ups for public adjusters and contractors in the insurance industry.
How to Choose the Date of Loss Correctly; 3 Scenarios
Many claims will fall into one of three categories.
The first one is the easiest one concerning the date of loss, and that is when the client knows exactly when the loss or damage happened.
Vandalism claims are the best example of this, especially if the police were notified on time, there is no doubt about when the loss occurred.
The second category is the roof or exterior damages discovered sometime after the event.
With many of these claims, it will be difficult to pinpoint the exact date of loss because you have to look for the most recent event and then get an expert opinion on whether the event could have caused that damage.
A simple way to solve this problem is to use official weather reports and find the date of the storm your client mentioned. You can then ask expert roofers or estimators your trust for confirmation.
The final category is the damages you don’t notice until they spread enough to become noticeable.
For example, a small leak behind a wall or a slightly damaged roof can create a significant mess in a few days or weeks, but you won’t notice it until it does enough damage.
Common Mistakes Public Adjusters Make When Choosing the Date of Loss
Choosing the wrong date of loss can lead to complications and result in a claim denial or underpaid claim.
Here are some common date of loss mistakes public adjusters make:
- Using the date of discovery instead of the date of damage when that doesn’t apply.
- Failing to consider the policy effective date when choosing the date of loss, resulting in a denied claim.
- Missing proof of loss deadline: Public adjusters may miscalculate the proof of loss deadline, resulting in a reduced payout or a claim denial.
- Failing to report the loss promptly, violating the policy’s reporting requirements and resulting in a denied claim.
- Using an incorrect date of loss for gradual damage.
Choosing the wrong date of loss can impact the insurer’s liability to cover the loss and result in a denied claim.
Key Takeaways from This Blog Post
We covered a lot of ground in this post, and specifically, you learned:
👉 The date of loss is the date when the damage or loss occurred.
👉 Choosing the wrong date of loss can impact the claim validity and the compensation the policyholder receives.
👉 Some common mistakes public adjusters make include using the date of discovery instead of the date of damage and failing to consider policy effective dates.
As with most processes public adjusters go through in a day, choosing the correct date of loss boils down to paying attention to details and understanding the policy!
It’s time to take full control of your claims. Of your business. Of your life.
A community can help you get there faster. It can offer support during these tough times. Inspiration. Guidance.
Together, we can get you to where you want to be.
What are you waiting for?