As part of our Did You Know series about key insurance components that affect contractors daily but yet that no one in the field actually knows, we offer some constructive advice about counting on your insurance carriers - that is to respond to requests for coverage on your time line.
The reality is insurance carriers have more work than they can handle, and they address issues and claims in the order in which they are received. Also, they have to do their due diligence in receiving all information surrounding a claim, meaning they will ask for pictures, statements, reports, and anything else they can get their hands on to help make a determination if the facts are such to trigger coverage. Remember, as indicated in our two previous Did You Know articles, this is also taking into account the time frame in which the claim was tendered and whether any other exclusions like "your work" may apply, leading to denial of coverage.
We often see contractors expect coverage, so if there is a demand from a homeowner or complaint in court that has been filed, contractors notify their insurance carrier, but then wait for a response. Crucial deadlines can pass in the meantime. It is highly unlikely you will receive a response within 30 days. In fact, the odds are greater that you will receive an answer in 60 to 90 days, maybe even longer. If you have a demand requiring a response within a certain time frame or a legal deadline, you probably won't hear back from your insurance carrier by then. Be aware that complaints in certain courts have to be responded to generally within 30 days or else they are deemed admitted and can result in a default judgment being entered against you. Your local and state rules govern this procedure.
The solution is two fold: 1) notify your carrier of a claim ASAP aka "tender" and 2) reach out to us. We are a team of construction attorneys, not divorce attorneys. If we are brought in soon enough, we may be able to either respond on your behalf to a deadline or get a continuance of a court deadline or appearance until after you receive a determination of coverage from your carrier.
Now you know - you can count on us. All For Contractors is All For You!