When an insured files a property insurance claim, such as fire, vandalism, theft, water, or any other claim, it is extremely important that the insured understands his or her obligations under the insurance policy and Michigan law to properly preserve any evidence that may be relevant to the insured's claim.
The duty to preserve evidence is broad, and it means that an insured must not delete, edit, alter, change, or tamper with any evidence pertaining to his or her claim, including any electronic evidence.
Therefore, an insured must save and keep all evidence of his or her claim or damages, including letters, insurance policy forms, mortgage documents, personal property inventory lists, tax returns, bank statements, financial records, emails, text messages, photos, videos from any device the insured may own, including cellphones, iPads, laptops, or any other device where there is potential evidence about the damage, the insured’s activities before and after the loss, and the insured’s whereabouts on the date of the loss.
The duty to preserve may also mean that the insured may need to search and request for any video surveillance that might be available from any businesses or residences nearby as they may have recorded the loss or how it may have started.
It is also important to remember that video surveillance may only be kept for a short period of time before it is automatically deleted in order to make room for the storage of new recordings. An insured must act quickly in order to save and store all available recordings in a safe location or manner so that they can easily be submitted to the insurance company, if requested.
Finally, the duty to preserve evidence becomes much more important in litigation if an insurance claim is denied, and the insured decides to sue.
If your insurance company has denied, delayed, or underpaid your insurance claim, contact Law Office of Rabih Hamawi for a case evaluation at (248) 905-1133 or www.hamawilaw.com.
Who is Rabih Hamawi?
Attorney & Counselor
Rabih Hamawi is a principal at the Law Office of Rabih Hamawi, P.C. and focuses his practice on representing policyholders in fire, property damage, and insurance-coverage disputes against insurance companies and in errors-and-omissions cases against insurance agents. He may be reached at (248) 905-1133.