Monthly Archives: November 2010

What to do if your house or property was damaged

If you were faced with a fire, hurricane, flood or other property damage, following these simple steps will make your life much easier and will help you get a fair settlement from your insurance company.

  1. After any calamity, the first thing to do is of course, is attend to the immediate needs of your family, making sure they are safe, have temporary housing, food and medicine.  Caution: do not attempt or let others enter your damaged property in the hope of rescuing possessions.  Even if the structure looks safe, fires may re-kindle, roofs could collapse, gas could leak, etc. Only after  your house was deemed safe, try to recover important documentation (driver licenses, SS cards, insurance information), valuables and essential items.
  2. Call your insurance company and let them know about the property damage. Try to make an appointment with the company’s claim adjuster as soon as possible.
  3. If you need to leave your house, contact the local police department to let them know, and try to secure your property to discourage looting.  Also, start saving receipts immediately, as you will need them to prove your losses to the insurance company.
  4. Call a Public Adjuster as soon as possible. Public Adjusters represent the interests of the policy holder, while the claim adjusters sent by your insurance company represent those of the insurance companies. The services that the Public Adjusters provide can be crucial for the success of your claim. In exchange a small percentage of the extra money they can recuperate, the Public Adjuster will assess damages, will take pictures and will estimate the cost of restoring your property. Also, the Public Adjuster will negotiate with the insurance company and handle all paperwork. Being represented by a Public Adjuster and knowing you have someone experienced working for you will relieve you of many time consuming details at such a difficult time, while also significantly increase your chances of a timely and fair settlement.  Let’s put it that way: you wouldn’t go to court without a proper attorney. It’s the same with your house insurance – you need a professional to represent your claim to the insurance company.
  5. Make an inventory of all damaged goods on the property and try to find the receipts for the items which were destroyed. Pictures of your undamaged home and possessions could also be useful.
  6. Important: Don’t start cleaning the house or repairing the damages until both your Public Adjuster and the insurance company’s Claim Adjuster visited the house and documented all damages.

Why hire a public adjuster?

If your property was damaged, you have a lot of things to deal with. Suppose your house was damaged in a fire. You may need to find a temporary place to live, to get clothes and other necessities for your family, and many other things. Or, even worse, maybe a family member was hurt: you will spend time at the hospital, worried and sad. At times like this, you hope dealing with your insurance company will be an easy and expeditious process.

But filing a claim takes time and energy, especially if you don’t have a record or receipts of your possessions and their value.  Also, you may find out, that the amount the insurance is paying is much less then what it takes for you to rebuild your home and replace its furnishings.  Moreover, to your frustration, you may find the check delayed, and your family’s dream of getting back to normal, postponed.

At times like this, working with a public adjuster can be a god send.  Besides assuming the responsibilities of getting your claim filled and processed, the adjuster will have all the necessary expertise to assure you are not getting the short end of the stick, while also keeping on top of things for a timely payout.

But hiring an adjuster is not as easy as it may seem.  You want to hire a leading public adjuster, not just because you want your claim processed timely and efficiently, but also because your insurance may be antagonistic to someone inexperienced, who exaggerates the claims and doesn’t have the experience, thus making the whole process harder instead of easier, for everyone involved.

We made the process on how to hire an public adjuster easier for you.  By choosing an adjuster from our leading public adjusters directory, you know you are working with competent, experienced and qualified public adjusters, that will do their best to help you and your family get a fair and timely settlement.

Was your insurance claim denied? Here's what to do!

The insurance business is a thriving one. Because of state laws, or for our peace of mind, we have to and want to buy all kinds of insurance. Insurance companies love having us as customers, as long as we pay the premiums and we don’t make any claims. If we file a claim, if our credit score goes down, if we’re late with a payment, etc., they increase our premiums or plainly deny us cover. You can’t really blame them, as they are for profit companies, with a duty first to their shareholders, and second to us, the customers. Most insurance company will do just about anything to avoid paying the entire sum on a claim. Insurance company adjusters are trained to look for loopholes that will reduce the settlement amount.

Still, as the customer you have rights. You have the right to be fairly compensated for your losses. If your claim for property loss is being denied, there are things you can do. Don’t let your insurance company or their claim adjuster convince you otherwise:
- Be persistent. If you insurance company refuses your claim or covers only a fraction of your losses, don’t assume there is nothing more you can do. You can file a new claim using a leading public adjuster that has your interests at heart. Make sure you keep accurate records of all the documents submitted and of your phone conversations. Also ask the insurance company to put in writing why they are denying or reducing your claim.
- Read your insurance policy. Many times, the insurance company will deny your claim for process errors such as the fact you didn’t fill the claim in a designated time window or you made mistakes completing the forms. To avoid this, read your insurance policy thoroughly and follow all the steps carefully. However, if you miss a time frame, and your claim is denied, doesn’t mean you should give up. The best thing you can do when your property loss claim is being denied, or the settlement is too small to cover your loss, is to hire a Public Adjuster.
- Hire a Leading Public Adjuster (professional loss consultant). Good adjusters usually pay for themselves. Generally they charge a percentage of your settlement, so it is in their own interest to get you the best settlement possible. It is best you hire a public adjuster early in the process. But even if your claim was denied or not settled to your satisfaction, they still may be able to help. Public adjusters also relieve you of the duty of properly filling your claim and negotiating with the insurance company.

To find a reputable public adjuster in your area, check our leading public adjusters directory!

Foolproof your property against claim denials from your insurance company

Ideally, before your home or business is damaged, you have had the chance to properly document the condition of your property. Most commonly, when insurance companies deny a claim, it is because the home or business owners failed to maintain accurate records to prove the condition of their property before the storm. For example, if you have installed a new roof 5 year ago that was guaranteed for 30 years, you will need to prove that your roof was in excellent condition and show proper documentation about its warrantee, or your insurance company depreciate the roof a lot more, as if it had a 10 years warranty and was in poor condition. In many cases, the insurance companies will reply with a claim denial for reasons like “pre-existing condition” or “failure to maintain”. What this means, is that they ‘believe’ your property was damaged before the event. The best way to avoid these scenarios is by thoroughly documenting the condition of your property ahead of time.

Most insurance companies will encourage you to take a home inventory. It is of course an excellent idea. It is easy enough to do, and will save a lot of hassle later on. However, they don’t really explain how to properly document the condition of the most expensive items in your home or business, like your windows and doors, your roof, kitchens and bathrooms, etc. Make sure you save recipes from any upgrades in a safe place. And take lots and lots of pictures.

Also, if your losses were substantial, don’t hesitate to talk to a professional loss consultant to avoid an insurance claim denial. Find a leading private property adjuster in our directory, and let them help you get the settlement you deserve.