If you or someone on your behalf files a home insurance claim in the U.S., and then decides to withdraw the claim, does it count as a claim on your insurance record?
The answer to this question has a large gray area, and varies from state to state and different insurance companies.
Very generally and basically speaking the answer is yes, it is a claim you filed and you withdrew it. But what does this mean on your home insurance policy record?
Probably nothing, but that does not stop some insured from being concerned the claim is “counting against their record” and will cause their rates to go up or even bring them one step closer to having their policy cancelled.
I cannot speak from the agents’ perspective but as an adjuster, insured as a rule are not penalized on number of claims filed. Adjusters do examine prior claims going back several years but that is to make sure prior damages were repaired and to avoid paying an insured for damages twice. If the insured was paid to replace their roof two years ago and did not replace the roof, if they claim roof damage in a new claim the adjuster will not pay because in essence the insured would be paid twice for the same roof. However, if insured was paid to replace the north slope of roof but the south slope was not damaged, and insured did not repair the north slope but in new claim south slope is damaged, the adjuster will pay for the south slope.
If someone files a home insurance claim “on your behalf” but without your permission or knowledge, it is possible you can make that claim go away, but it will probably take several phone calls and maybe even the help of your agent to do so. In this scenario you are not withdrawing the claim, the claim is being closed and as close to deleted as possible. There is a record of the claim being filed but it does not appear as a valid claim filed. A file note may indicate claim was opened in error.
It seems unproductive if an insured rushes to file a claim following a storm and prior to surveying for damages, and then calls in the next day or two and withdraws the claim because there was no damage at all. If the insured has no way to survey for damages, and therefore does not know if there are any, the best choice may be to file a claim so an adjuster can inspect.
If an insured withdraws a claim because they discover the damages are below their deductible, the adjuster may not consider this a withdrawn claim due to there were damages that need to be documented in case of future damages to the same items. The claim may close as under deductible, no payment made.
If an insured requests to withdraw the claim because there were no damages, it’s hard for the adjuster to argue with that. In either case, if there are any damages, and insured has repairs made, the repairs need to be documented in case of future damage to the same items.
A problem here is the policy may require the insured to report damages to their property to the insurance company. If you discover there are no damages, you could withdraw the claim. If there are damages they should be addressed by your adjuster.
In conclusion, in most states and in most cases an insured should not be afraid to file a claim for damages. There may be rare exceptions to this rule, and speaking with your agent is usually the best course of action. If for some reason you do not currently have an agent you could call another agent in your area, or your insurance company.
In the event you have an active claim, be aware policy and regulations vary from state to state and with different insurance companies. Policies and endorsements are sometimes amended following major damage events in a geographic area. It’s best to speak with your agent and only take action on costly mitigation or repairs from your adjuster.