Home Insurance Claim Highlights – 2013

As a very busy summer draws to a close, here are some of the highlights from the season’s most interesting claims.

1. The insurance company had delayed a response to a fire claim for six months. The home owner called me and soon after received an initial payment of $111,000.00 which, upon further review, was underpaid. We recovered an additional $14,000.00 a few weeks later.

2. The insurance company denied the church’s claim for storm damage to its steeple and interior. Their roofing contractor referred them to me and we soon recovered the full amount to repair the steeple, repair the damage to the interior of the church and to replace a section of the roof.

Damaged by 100 mph wind, this steeple was allowing water to flow into the church.

Damaged by 100 mph wind, this steeple was allowing water to flow into the church.

3. The insurance company denied a claim for damages to a home caused by a dishonest contractor. His financial advisor referred his client to me and we turned that “no” into a check for $10,000.00 and a waived $5,000 deductible (total value, $15,000.00).

4. The insurance company denied a claim for hail damage to his roof and my client’s roofing contractor referred him to me. We turned that “no” into a new roof.

5. The insurance company had refused to address the storm damage to her home and my client was referred to me by a friend. In a matter of weeks, we turned that “no” into a several thousands of dollars and a new roof.

6. The insurance company had said “no” and denied coverage to a storm damaged deck. My client was referred to me by a real estate agent. We turned that “no” into $16,400 for a rebuilt second story deck.

7. The insurance company had denied his roof claim stating that the storm with golf ball sized hail did not damage his roof. My client called me after finding me on the internet. We turned that “no” into over $21,000.00 for a new roof and gutter.

We did well on many other storm, theft and fire claims, as well. I’m looking forward to Autumn.

 

Copyright 2013 James H. Bushart

“No” is Not Always the Final Answer With an Insurance Claim Denial

Steeple

A storm with 100 mph winds had damaged a steeple and allowed water to enter the church and cause significant damage. The church was insured and a claim was filed the following day.

The church’s insurance company denied their claim by improperly applying an exclusion in the policy that referred to “wind driven rain” and that precluded the church’s right to recover for the damage.

Their roofing contractor recommended that they contact me for assistance, which they did.

Although the insurance company’s adjuster and their engineer supported this exclusion and the denial of the claim, the facts that I brought to them after my investigation of the damage forced them to re-evaluate.

They eventually came to agree that the cause of the damage DID fall under the policy and  agreed to reverse their denial and issue a check to the church to cover their total loss.

“No” is not always the final answer with an insurance claim.

Copyright 2013 – James H. Bushart.

www.publicadjustermissouri.com

How Many Will Walk Away From Their Own Money?

My client’s legitimate claim with his insurance company for property damage had been denied and so he contacted me.
After my first contact with them, the insurance company offered a very small amount of money which they had calculated from their adjuster’s database (commonly used by adjusters throughout the United States) and that was less than his deductible — for which they would still pay nothing.
Following a few more contacts from me, I received this email from the insurance company:
  “Mr. Bushart, after doing some additional research on patio cover pricing, I feel that the pricing that you provided is more in line with what the insured had than what is on our data base. As such, we will use your figures for settling on the patio cover.
  How would you like the check issued and where would you like it delivered?”
How many other insured home and business owners will simply walk away from a denied or underpaid claim and leave money that is rightfully theirs laying on the table?

Before You Renew Your Insurance Policy … Read This!

Two small teddy bears

Two small teddy bears (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people will carry insurance with the same company for years without ever having the need to file a claim … and then only at their greatest time of need, following a serious property loss, find that their insurer is NOT the “safety net” that they had expected.

Low rates, teddy bears, lizards with British accents, good hands and good neighbors … they all mean very little when disaster strikes your home and you experience improper claim denials and delays that add to your burden and interfere with your recovery.

Before renewing your next policy, check out (by clicking HERE) your insurance company with the Missouri Department of Insurance to see how they have measured up where it really matters … customer satisfaction in processing their claims. 

 

Copyright 2012 James H. Bushart

What Should Your Insurance Company Pay You for the Repair and Restoration of Your Home?

When your home has been partially or totally destroyed from a peril covered by your insurance contract or policy, you have the right to expect to receive financial support from the insurer toward restoring your home to the condition that it was prior to the loss.

The only fair amount that an insurance company should pay for loss to real property (and that an insured should expect to be paid) is the cost for repair and restoration work that the specialists who undertake the project agree to work for.  Sometimes, insurance contracts will allow for reasonable depreciation … but the figure from which the depreciation is made or settlement is awarded should be the actual cost of restoring the property and not an arbitrary estimated amount.

Sometimes, their adjusters who work on their behalf will encourage home owners to agree to settlements that will provide less than what they are entitled to and that can appear to be reasonable … but are not.

For instance, many insurance company adjusters will rely upon and use computer software or publications that claim to represent costs for various incidents, materials and tasks and that are periodically updated by telephone surveys.  The errant suggested costs from these computer programs are what the insurance company’s adjusters will often use to base their settlement offers.

These estimating applications are often incomplete,  inaccurate and unreliable and will likely be used to represent the company’s first offer of settlement.  Unsuspecting home owners will feel obligated to accept these lowball offers … particularly when they are in a hurry for cash.

Sometimes, the insurance company will hire retired or former contractors and will pay them to provide “estimates” for repairing or restoring the home.  Many of these folks have not been directly involved with the actual repair or restoration process for many years  and lack current knowledge of material costs and procedures.  They are also unlikely to be the professionals who are going to be performing the actual work.  Additionally, being paid by the insurance company for their bid and their future referrals provides some of these folks with an incentive to provide low and unrealistic “estimates”.

Sometimes the insurer will offer a lump sum “cash out” that will (with quick and fast money) provide the home owner with the enticement to accept a fast settlement that will provide less than the required amount to fully restore their home to the original condition.  The idea of lower payments for “do-it-yourself” repair work provides the insurer with a lower payment while leaving the home owner on his own to seek and use lower quality and cheaper materials, inexperienced labor and with no warranty on the final work.  This is never a good idea.

Remember, the only fair fair amount that an insurance company should pay (and that you should accept) is the price for repair and restoration work that the specialists who undertake the project agree to work for.

If you feel that you have been underpaid for a recent claim and you live in the State of Missouri, contact me.  I will be happy to review your claim and let you know if there are additional steps that can be taken to assist you in receiving all that you are entitled to from your insurance company as a result of your loss.

Copyright 2012 James H. Bushart

How I Can Help When the Insurance Company “Lowballs” Your Settlement

Perhaps you’ve already filed your claim and received a lowball settlement that cannot possibly repair all of the damage to your Missouri property.

If there is money still owed to you by your insurer, I can help you by re-opening your insurance claim and negotiating a fair settlement.

My objective with the adjustment negotiations for your insurance company is a final agreement upon the maximum amount of money that you are entitled to receive under the terms and conditions of the insurance covering the loss.  This amount should coincide with the liability of the insurance company … meaning that, while an insured loss should not result in more than what it would take to restore you to your pre-loss condition, neither should it result in a payment of less.

The claim reopening process will begin with a review all the background documentation and your policy to determine if you were underpaid.  If you were underpaid and wish to hire me, I will contact your insurer and attempt to negotiate a fair settlement with them.  Sometimes, their “No” is simply a request for more information.

It costs you nothing to see if I can help you and if you do not recover additional money, you owe me nothing.

If your insured property is not located in Missouri, seek a public adjuster licensed in your state.

www.publicadjustermissouri.com

%d bloggers like this: