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.

 

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

%d bloggers like this: