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At The Morgan Law Group P.A., our insurance claims attorneys represent clients across many states, because we know the challenges that come with filing a property damage claim in each state or territory. More importantly, we understand how difficult it is to get a fair valuation for their damages, and an adequate settlement amount that makes our clients whole again.

Insurance companies often present a document known as a “property damage release form” when you file a property damage insurance claim. Signing this form can have significant legal implications. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what this document entails before making any decisions.

With decades of service in representing homeowners and property owners in insurance claims across the country, our insurance lawyers at The Morgan Law Group provide valuable insights into whether you should sign a property damage release.

Here is what insurance policyholders need to know.

What is an Insurance Release of Claims Document?

If you file a property damage insurance claim with your provider, they will supply you with a “release of claims” document before they issue a settlement check.

In most cases, signing the document will finalize your claim. That means you agree with the valuation and release the insurance company from any further liability to this specific claim in exchange for the settlement amount.

If you believe the insurance company is providing a full and fair settlement office, signing the release may do you no harm.

However, if you disagree with the valuation, and believe you are entitled to a better settlement, do not sign any documents the insurance company provides.

It is very important to remember that you are not required to sign a release to receive properly owed benefits under an insurance policy.

What Is a Property Damage Release Form?

A property damage release form is a legal document that, once signed, typically absolves the insurance company from further claims related to the incident. It declares that the payment offered and accepted is the final settlement for all claims arising from the specific damage. This form is crucial because it marks the end of the insurance claim process regarding the damage covered by the settlement.

Evaluating the Release Form 

Before signing a property damage release, consider the following steps:

  • Review: Thoroughly review the settlement offer and the terms of the release. It’s crucial to understand every aspect of the agreement.
  • Assessment: Have a professional assess the property damage. There could be hidden damages that are not immediately apparent.
  • Consultation: Consult an insurance claim attorney who can provide legal advice based on the specifics of your case. 

Deciding whether to sign a property damage release involves careful analysis of the settlement offer and the potential future implications of signing the release. It is highly recommended to seek our insurance claims lawyers. They understand the complexities of insurance claims and can guide you through the process. 

Should You Sign a Property Damage Release Form?

This is a question that requires careful consideration. When you sign this form for a property damage insurance claim, its implications include:

  • Finality: Signing a release form generally means that you cannot reopen the claim, even if additional damages are discovered later.
  • Settlement Amount: It is essential to ensure the settlement amount adequately covers all damages. Once the release is signed, obtaining additional funds from the insurer for that claim becomes nearly impossible.
  • Legal Rights: Signing the release can affect your legal rights, including pursuing further compensation through legal actions.

The rights and obligations concerning property damage releases can vary. Certain jurisdictions require clear and unambiguous language in the release form to be legally binding. It’s advisable to be aware of such legal nuances, which can significantly impact the decision to sign.

How Do I Know if My Insurance Settlement Offer Fair?

Each insurance claim is unique, so determining what is fair to one property owner may differ for another, based on the facts of the case.

However, if you believe the insurance company’s settlement offer is unfair, you should:

  • Review the terms of your insurance policy.
  • Take photographs of your property damage.
  • Document all conversations with the insurance company representatives.
  • Keep records of all repair-related expenses.
  • Obtain an appraisal from a qualified neutral party.
  • Get a second damage estimate, if needed.
  • Be prepared to contact an attorney.

It is important to understand that the claims adjuster who is assessing your property damage works for the insurance company. That means he or she has their employer’s best interests in mind when evaluating your damages.

At The Morgan Law Group, our skilled insurance claims attorneys in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, California, and Puerto Rico will evaluate your insurance policy, including what is covered by its terms and conditions, and have an experienced public adjuster evaluate your complete property damage for what it is actually worth.

Before making a decision, ensure that you are fully informed and supported by legal advice tailored to your situation. Reach out to our insurance lawyers to secure your rights and obtain a fair resolution. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.