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Yes this could be a big coverage issue as most property policy’s have provisions that
certain types of losses are not covered if the property is vacant for a period as stated in their policy. You should discuss this issue with your agent and get it in writing as to what you and that person agreed to on this issue. There are also issues that arise regarding the terms “vacant” and “unoccupied”. We have seen these terms wrongly applied to losses causing coverage to be denied. Tutwiler& Associates has been retained on such claims and after an investigation we have provided factual information that the property was not vacant but simply unoccupied at the time of the loss. There is a big difference depending on policy language between a property being vacant and being unoccupied. You should be aware that depending on the insurance company you may be able to buy back coverage for a vacant building with an extra premium being paid for this added risk. As an example, our firm has been retained in a six figure vandalism and theft loss by a hospital that had closed. The owner purchased an endorsement to cover the risk of theft and vandalism to this hospital.
In many cases, the company will inspect your property, review the police report, take your recorded statement then make a determination on coverage after receiving your inventory list of stolen property. In larger dollar cases, a more thorough investigation by the company may take place which may include an examination under oath and request for financial documentation to prove fiscal status (ability to own). With no physical evidence of ownership, it gets down to the policyholders credibility which the company attempts to obtain through the EUO and financial documentation. We have also seen affidavits used to support the fact that the policyholder filing the affidavit swears an acquaintance can confirm they had whatever property is disputed in the claim. Family and friends can help, but remember, these are sworn statements under oath. So telling the truth is the rule when filing an affidavit. You may want to consult with an attorney on this issue before submitting an affidavit.
Technically, no. However, in every case where an EUO is requested, careful consideration on whether to hire an attorney should be given. We do suggest you talk with an attorney to obtain an opinion given the facts in dispute as to whether they should sit with you at your EUO. The more complicated the issues, the more likely it would benefit you to have legal counsel during an EUO. In larger dollar cases it may also be wise. A EUO is a sworn statement that generally is taken by a lawyer hired by your insurance company.
An attorney would need to be retained and most likely a lawsuit filed against your insurance carrier. However, in some cases, Tutwiler & Associates can review your claim and may be able to get your company to reconsider coverage before taking this step. In the event an attorney is required, Tutwiler & Associates can act as your expert with regards to the insurance loss and damages.
If requested, under the terms of most insurance policies, you must submit a completed and executed Proof of Loss form within the required period of time. Failure to comply could lead to denial of your claim. If requested, you should diligently prepare your claim and file it with an executed Proof of Loss. Tutwiler & Associates would assist you with the preparation and presentation of the Proof of Loss.
In most cases, the insurance company will grant an extension to file the Proof of Loss if requested. The request and approval should be documented in writing. Tutwiler & Associates we can help you with this process.
As stated above honestly prepared affidavits from friends and family members stating their knowledge of items can and have been used to help support a claim. Old family photos are another good way to show the item in question. If possible, retailer representatives or others who sold you the item can provide proof through a letter or if available a copy of the original sales invoice.