California wildfires are ravaging entire counties like Santa Barbara County. They have destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. Early damage estimates are over $1 billion.
A tornado struck downtown Atlanta on March 14, 2008, causing more than $250 million worth of damage.
Many homes and businesses were severely damaged. Some were even total losses. Many had property insurance. However, few policyholders had ever read their policy and they don’t know how to file a claim in order to maximize their recovery. Insurance companies have a huge advantage because they don’t know as much.
What can victims of these storms do to make their lives easier? This Top Ten Tip List will help you make more money! !
1. Notify Insurance Company. Follow the instructions on the policy. If you do not follow the instructions, it could put your claim at risk.
2. Do not accept a quick payment from your insurance adjuster if you have to close your file. Insurance companies love fast payments. Your insurance company will give you a huge discount if you accept a quick payment without knowing all the damages. Worse, you will not be able get the repairs done.
3. Reduce your damage. This is a fancy term to protect your property from more damage. You can put a tarp on the roof, or plastic over broken windows. Your policy covers all expenses.
4. Take lots of photos. It’s your responsibility to prove your claim. Sometimes, the adjuster may not reach you for several days. Temporary repairs may be necessary to restore your home or business to its original state. You might have to clean up items you don’t need. You should take a photograph of the loss.
5. Create a document folder. Keep all documents related to this claim together in one place. All receipts, claim documents and photos should be kept in this box.
6. You can open a checking account to handle the funds for repairs. This will prevent you from mixing the funds with other household or business funds. This makes it easier to keep records.
7. Do not accept the adjuster sent by your insurance company to your house or business blindly. Ask the adjuster if they have been trained to manage your loss. Call your supervisor if the adjuster has less than two years experience and DEMAND another one.
8. If you require money to start demolition or cleanup, ask the adjuster. Ask the adjuster to give you an advance if you require funds for business income or additional living expenses. Although it is done every day, many insurance companies won’t give it.
9. Keep a record of every conversation that you have with your adjuster. Keep a log of all your adjusting activities. Never trust an adjuster to work for you. The insurance company pays his salary. He is on THEIR SIDE.
10. To evaluate your claim, call a Public Insurance Adjuster (PA). The State Department of Insurance licenses public adjusters to represent policyholders and not the insurance company. A PA will often result in you receiving more money than if the insurance company offers you.
Consider this: You hire doctors when you are sick. When you have legal problems, you hire an attorney. To handle your books and file taxes, accountants are hired. In this instance, if you don’t know how to submit an insurance claim, why not hire an accountant to handle your books or file taxes? To determine if hiring a PA is financially feasible, consult a PA. Although your claim may not be large enough to warrant a professional, you will find out if you ask one. Don’t ask your adjuster at your insurance company if you require a PA.
These simple strategies will help you add hundreds, if not thousands, to your claim settlements.