Five Good Reasons to Hire a Public Adjuster

1) Call a private adjuster before you file your claim.

Sometimes, if you wait and see what the insurance company is going to offer, it may be too late to present your claim in a way that meets your policy agreements. “My basement is flooded” could result in a denial for lack of “flood” insurance when the cause for flooding, presented correctly, could be covered under a standard home owners policy.  A public adjuster will know how to communicate your loss and will know the state rules governing the insurer’s response.  He works for you … not the insurance company.

2) A private adjuster will know your insurance policy and how it works.

Insurance policies are confusing and difficult to read and understand if you do not work with them, regularly. Public adjusters have detailed knowledge of most home and business policies and how they work. They will present their own estimates of damage to the insurance company, giving guidance from the very beginning of the process.

3) Concentrate on getting “back to normal”.

Having a public adjuster working for you allows you to focus on getting your family or business back to normal and take away the often tedious and anxious process of settling your claim to make needed repairs.  While you are attending to matters necessary to restore your home or your business, you public adjuster is focused on your claim without the same distractions that would be interfering with your efforts to do the same.

4) There are no up front or “out-of-pocket” costs.

You can afford a Public Adjuster. You do not pay a public adjuster until you have been paid by your insurer. Fees for public adjusters may vary and are higher (around 10%) for the smaller claims of up to $250,000 and will generally decrease for recovery of amounts greater than that.

5) Even after your claim has been closed, a public adjuster can help you recover a fair settlement.

After you have settled with your insurance company and find that the amount of your recovery was less than what you needed — or may have been entitled to — to properly address your loss, a public adjuster may be able to reopen your claim and obtain additional recovery.

In Missouri, contact me at 314-803-2167 or email me at jbushart@publicadjustermissouri.com .  There is no charge to call and see if I can help you.

Do You Have an Insurance Claim?

You know that there is damage to your home or personal property … but are you entitled to money to to address your damage from your insurance carrier?

The insurance company will send their adjuster (or one that they have contracted to represent them) to the home to investigate and prepare a report.

The following questions are what your insurance company’s adjuster will be attempting to answer in making the determination as to whether or not you should be paid and, if you should be paid, how much to pay you.

1.  Is the cause of loss covered?  His interpretation of the cause may or may not fall under a cause of loss covered by your policy.

2.  Is the property involved in the loss covered?  Coverage is limited to the property that is described on the declarations page but can also include grave markers and property off the premises, as well.

3.  Is the type of loss covered?  Not all types of losses are covered under a home owner’s or business insurance policy.  Items that should be replaced through normal maintenance, for example, would not be covered.

4.  Are the types and amounts of damages covered?  Does your policy contain certain limits for certain types of losses and damages?

5.  Is the person involved in the loss covered?

6.  Is the location of the loss covered?  Many home owners are unaware that certain losses their children experience in the college dorm can be covered under their policy.

7.  Is the time of the accident or occurrence within the policy period?

8.  Are the hazards involved in the loss covered?   Vandalism, for example, may not be covered when the property is vacant.

9.  Do any exclusions apply?

Use these questions to guide you in determining if you have a claim and should be paid.  When your insurance company’s adjuster does not agree with you, consult a public adjuster before accepting less than what you may be entitled to.

 

Hail Damage to Gutters – Repair or Replace?

I recently received an inquiry from a homeowner who, following a recent hail storm, had his gutters damaged.  He asked if he should seek to have his insurer pay to have them painted or replaced.

Although aluminum gutters can be repainted, this will become a process that will have to be repeated again and again over a period of time.  Even while the original surface will change color or become dull over time, the original surface is baked on and will not peel or crack, as will paint.  Painting gutters are, over time, the most expensive and least effective option.

This also applies to a metal siding.

A home owner’s insurance policy entitles that the home is restored as close as possible to the condition that it was prior to the loss event.  Painting a gutter or metal siding does not accomplish this.  Replacing it does.Damaged Gutter

Copyright 2013 James H. Bushart

www.publicadjustermissouri.com

 

Missouri Home Owner’s Policy – Changes to Your Deductible

Many insured Missouri home owners are caught off-guard, at the time they file a claim and can afford it the least, when they discover that their “deductible” has increased to several thousands of dollars.  (The policy’s “deductible” is a dollar amount that is automatically subtracted by the insurance company from any amount that is owed, per occurrence, to the insured as a result of damage or loss to the home.)

When many home owners first insured their homes, their policies originally had a $500.00 deductible that eventually changed to $1,000.  Now, with recent renewals, insurance companies have begun to assign a deductible amount that represents a percentage of the total value of the policy.  By this, if a home is insured for $300,000, a 1% deductible allows for each claim to carry a deductible amount of $3,000.  This means that a claim against the policy for a $7,000 to repair will result in a payment of $4,000.

A recent Missouri client was surprised and upset to learn that his deductible had increased from its original $1000 to over $5,000 when he filed what was his very first claim after decades of coverage.  While we were able to successfully negotiate an agreement with his insurer to waive this deductible amount for his claim, this was an exception to the rule that is not always available – as was the case of another client who discovered too late that she had a significant $2,300 amount to be deducted from her settlement of $6,400.

These increases in the deductible amounts are reported to the home owner at policy renewal on the “Declarations” page that is sent at the time of each renewal.  Unfortunately, many home owners will simply file this important page with their policies without reading and noting the change.

Take the time, today, to read your most recent declarations page to see if your deductible has changed.  It is possible to negotiate a lower deductible with your insurance company, in some cases, with a slight increase in your premium … but this must be done and in effect PRIOR to the date of any loss or damage.

Copyright 2013 James H. Bushart

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

Superstorm Sandy and Property Damage Insurance

As is often the case following such damaging events as the recent storms in the Northeastern section of the United States from yesterday, hundreds of thousands of home and business owners will awaken and begin to discover the realities of their insurance contracts … those conditions and exclusions that are written into their insurance polices that, like landmines, often impede their steps toward restoring that part of their lives that has to do with their property damage and loss.

Believe it or not, thousands of home owners with their houses under water brought in by the sea or overflowing river banks will only — today — discover that flooding is not a covered peril under their insurance policies.  With all or most of their personal property missing or destroyed, providing proof of their losses will appear to be impossible.

Because the burden is on the insured to “prove” his loss and most are not totally aware of their rights or the process of proving their insurance claims, many will accept lower settlements or denials that will unnecessarily add to the burdens that they already are forced to endure.

Some “storm chasing” public adjusters from all over the country will soon be descending upon the area to help people with their insurance claims to help home and business owners contend with the wave of adjusters sent by the insurance companies to protect their financial interests … and while many of them will actually be helpful, the shock and the awe of the recent disaster still hangs over its victims like a dark cloud and not all of their choices during this period will be, upon later reflection, “good” choices.

Prudent home and business owners throughout the country can benefit from this lesson and take the opportunity — today — to meet with a public adjuster close to their home.  Get to know him and discuss your insurance contracts with him.  Let him show you what they do and do not cover, what your immediate steps should be following a loss and how to protect yourself from actions that could nullify or reduce the amount of your claim.

Public adjusters do not work for insurance companies and can help you through the process of proving your claim  … even before it happens … so that you can concentrate on more important things that you will certainly face during a personal property disaster.

It is also important to note that, if you try to handle your claim on your own and are unsatisfied with the results, a local public adjuster can review your claim and reopen it to address a wrongful denial or underpayment.

Take the time, today, to find a local public adjuster who will be there for you when you need him the most.

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