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Top Secrets Insurance Companies Don’t Want Their Policy Holders To Know

You have insurance and always pay your premium on time. You look over your policy.  You make sure that your smoke detectors have new batteries, that you have an updated alarm system and take care of wear and tear issues in your home as they arise.  For years, things have been normal, but when significant and unexpected damage happens and you need to submit a claim, your insurance company may have a few surprises for you.

They tell you that you’re in good hands, so you feel that your insurance provider will be there for you when you need them. You likely assumed that insurance companies are legally obligated to operate in good faith and you never worried that as a policyholder you wouldn’t be treated fairly or compensated properly.

When the claims process ensues, the insurance provider’s goal is to reduce the liability for themselves and pay out as little as possible, if at all. Most homeowners submit their claim themselves only to realize later that the insurance company is offering significantly less than what it will take to repair the damage or nothing at all. There are many layers to the negotiation process and if you’re not working with a public adjuster or an attorney that focuses on homeowner’s insurance law, you could end up paying more out of pocket to repair damages than you should have.

Here are a few things that insurance companies don’t want you to know:

The insurance company hopes that you will represent yourself:  An adjuster who works for the insurance company is not the same as a public adjuster. The former has the upper hand over the average policyholder, who doesn’t deal with claims on a daily basis and isn’t well-suited to fight against someone with such extensive knowledge. The adjuster may even try to persuade the policyholder to record a statement without speaking to an attorney because they have bargaining power in the process.

The insurance adjuster doesn’t work for you – a public adjuster does:  It may feel like the insurance adjuster is there to help you receive the compensation that you deserve.  But the insurance adjuster is a trained negotiator who doesn’t always fight fair, resorting to appealing to a policyholder on an emotional level to get them to accept a lower settlement.  Consider hiring a public adjuster on your own that doesn’t represent the insurance company. Since most get paid on a contingency basis (they get paid when you get paid), they will fight hard to get you the biggest payout possible. Know that part of negotiation is manipulation and without an experienced lawyer on your side, you could be duped into saying something that could be used against you to deny your claim.

Settling is beneficial to the insurance company:  Each claim is different but oftentimes, the insurance company is motivated to settle.  Having an attorney to work on your behalf, to bring an action for breach of contract and/or bad faith against the company if things head that way is always a good option if required.

Undervaluing your claim is standard operating procedure:  Insurance is a business, plain and simple.  Driven to make a profit for the company, an adjuster has good reason to undervalue your valid claim.  If you’re not aware, you could easily settle for less money than you’re entitled to if the adjuster convinces you it’s a good deal.

If your homeowners insurance claim has been denied, underpaid or has hit a legal snag, hiring a homeowners insurance attorney can get you the payment you deserve to repair your property. Call 844-96-CLAIM to get a free case review.

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5 Things You Should Never Do Following Hurricane Property Damage

Facing the devastating after-effects of hurricane-related damage is emotionally taxing. Having to deal with trying to figure out the in’s and outs of filing a property damage claim can be confusing, if not daunting. In having to deal with severe emotion and frustration, judgement can get clouded. However, in order to prevent your situation from getting worse, there are several things that should never be done. Here are the top 5.

 

  1. Don’t return to your home until it is deemed safe to do so.

In addition to protecting your own safety, first responders first priority is to find any survivors and casualties. Returning before they allow it will prolong their job, but other lives at risk and put you in danger. Remain patient and wait for the go-ahead.

 

  1. Don’t immediately discard of potentially damaged items.

In addition to not being in the best mindset to make sound decisions after a devastating event, you may be able to salvage some property that would otherwise have to be completely replaced. Although at first sight your property may appear to be totally destroyed, upon further examination, you may find that there’s a lot that is salvageable

Also, if you salvage partially damaged property, your insurance company will try to make sure that your property doesn’t suffer further damage.

 

  1. Don’t wait to contact your insurance company after the damage is done.

Once you file your claim, they will send out a person to assess your property for compensation. Remember, you’re not the only one who will be contacting them. Therefore, the longer you wait, the more time you will have to wait in line and your compensation will be delayed.

Also, your insurance may have a ‘prompt notice’ requirement which mandates that you contact the company as soon as damage is caused.

 

  1. Don’t assess the cause of the property damage to the adjuster.

Although we all have the best intentions of trying to help the situation, this may cause more damage than help to the owner of the property. Sometimes this ‘self-diagnosis’ may lead to the damage not being covered. Leave the job to the professionals and save yourself some potential heartache.

 

  1. Don’t feel that you have to accept the initial estimate for compensation that you receive.

Following the mass destruction that is caused by a severe hurricane, an insurance’s goal is to close as many properties as possible in the shortest amount of time. The majority of the time, they will also undervalue the property damage- it’s a business, after all! With these two elements at play, it leaves the owners of the damaged property without enough money to cover their damages.

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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Pipe and Plumbing Leak Water Damage?

There are few things more awful than coming come to a room full of water as a result of a leak. When it comes to water damage, home insurance companies can be tricky to navigate as some instances are covered while others are not.

While Florida insurance companies do often cover sudden and unexpected water damage, they will not cover anything that happened over time and you, as the owner, may be stuck with the cost of it.  Also, flooding is not covered unless separate coverage is purchased. Finally, certain parts of a broken or leaking pipe incident may be covered. Let’s take a more specific look at what is and isn’t covered by your standard homeowners insurance.

What is covered:

If the nature of the water damage is unexpected such as a burst pipe or ruptured water heater, there’s a good chance that your policy will provide you with compensation.

The key words are ‘accidental’ or ‘sudden’ – if those describe your situation, then you will likely be covered.

Your insurance policy covers your dwelling which consists of your walls, roof, floor, appliances, and mechanical systems. Also, it can cover your personal items but does have a cap on luxury items which may require the purchase of a rider to cover the total cost.

Finally, if you are unable to stay in your home due to the damage, your insurance policy should cover the living expenses such as hotel or transportation that are affected as a direct result of it.

What isn’t covered:

While insurance policies will cover sudden breaks, there are instances in which they may not. If an adjuster finds that there are signs of normal wear and tear or negligence on your part or that of a plumber, your claim may be denied. It is only in the instance that the pipes were properly maintained and malfunctioned that the insurance company will cover the damage.

Sewage backup and flooding are not covered by regular policies, but there are affordable options to add that protection, which is highly recommended.

Most often, mold damage isn’t covered by Florida insurance companies either. However, if it is the result of a covered leak, then you may have the possibility of coverage. Policies often have a cap on how much is covered so a rider may have to be purchased to cover the full extent of the damage.

If your claim gets denied or underpaid…

If you had the proper insurance coverage and were denied or your claim was underpaid, you may employ the services of a homeowners insurance claim attorney.

Law Firm of David Low and Associates, P. A. | 844-96-CLAIM

DISCILAIMER: The information in this article is purely for educational purposes, reflective of the time it was published. It is not to be understood as legal advice.

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Buying a Home in Florida? Here’s what to Look for in Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

Florida has many benefits that are attractive to both, business owners and those in favor of sunshine. If you are looking to make a move to Florida, there are a few things you should know. But first, save our contact information: Law Firm of David Low and Associates, P. A. | 844-96-CLAIM If your homeowners’ insurance claim is denied or underpaid, you will be glad you did!

The Basics of a Homeowners Insurance Policy:

With different kinds of homeowners’ insurance policies available, it’s difficult to know which one is the right one for you to pick from. At its most basic, a homeowners’ insurance policy helps you cover repairs from losses to your property. Your average policy will include coverage for damage that is related to fallen trees, storms, water discharge, or fire.

The majority of claims that are made to these companies are water-related from everyday occurrences such as leaking from plumbing, water heaters or air conditioners. While Florida law doesn’t require that a homeowner have coverage, most mortgage lenders do.

The components of a basic policy include your dwelling, any structure attached to it, your personal property, and loss of use – meaning if your home is uninhabitable due to damage, the expenses associated with the damage. Many basic policies also include medical payments coverage and personal liability coverage for persons who are injured on your property.

What Are Things You Should Look for In Your Policy?

1. Windstorm Damage: Most policies should include windstorm damage. It’s important to obtain coverage for windstorm due to the frequent nature of this kind of damage to Florida homes. Florida homeowners can experience damage that results from hurricanes, tropical storms or any other kind of hurricane-force winds. Making sure to obtain this coverage is important. 

If you’re buying a new home, consider getting one that was built after Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida. It was the hurricane that changed many laws and codes. So, although older homes may have more charm, the newer ones (built after the mid-1990s) tend to be more weather-resistant, due to more stringent building codes.

If you are buying a home that is older, do what you can to update your home to newer codes to ensure that you don’t incur any future damage.

2. Flood Coverage:

Flood damage from rising waters is not typically covered under a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. Flood coverage must be separately purchased. The amount you pay for your flood insurance is determined by the kind of flood zone you live in. A Special Flood Hazard Area, defined as an area close to the coast and other bodies of water requires that a homeowner in that area purchase a flood insurance policy.  Your home is then assigned a Base Flood Elevation number which measures how close you are to sea level.

If your area is below sea level, your flood insurance policy will be more costly.

Other Considerations:

Insurance companies also consider the placement of your home appliances and other fixtures around your home and whether or not they’re elevated off the ground. If the home’s fixtures are more prone to damage, based on location, then the policy can be more costly. In addition, the underwriters will want to know the size of your home and how many floors there are.

If your claim gets denied or underpaid, you will want to employ the services of a homeowners’ insurance claim attorney.

Law Firm of David Low and Associates, P. A. | 844-96-CLAIM

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is purely for educational purposes, reflective of the time it was published. It is not to be understood as legal advice.

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Hurricane Season: Why Homeowners Should Seek Professional Advice When Shopping for a Policy.

Out of all the states in the U.S. damaged by hurricanes, Florida has been hit the most – a staggering 40%. Its expansive coastline puts Florida in a unique position of being extremely vulnerable to hurricanes. We have warm Atlantic waters to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west.  Plus, the majority of Florida’s residents live along the coastline.

Hurricanes are an expensive threat to homeowners. For example, during Hurricane Irma alone, Floridians suffered $23 billion in insured losses. This was excluding flood damage which caused even more expenses for Florida homeowners.

Because of our unique vulnerability to damage, there are insurance companies that do nearly all of their business within the state of Florida. There are many to choose from and it can be daunting for a homeowner in Florida to know whether they’re making the right choice for their needs and to cover all of their bases in case a hurricane or storm-related catastrophe strikes.

It’s easy to simply settle on the biggest and seemingly ‘most trusted’ company in the U.S. without giving it much further thought – the larger names recognizable from radio and television. However, paying attention to the amount of Floridian markets they serve and whether or not they have policies tailored to the specific needs of Floridian conditions is important. For example, State Farm, which insures 20% of homeowners in the United States, only ensures 7% or less of Florida homeowners and Allstate, operating under a different name in Florida is ranked 19th in the market share in the state.

The more prudent insurance companies to target are the ones that are more focused within the state instead of a national scale, and as a homeowner, you should look for a policy that is attuned to the risks facing a Florida home. For example, it is not generally wise to obtain a policy without water damage coverage, the leading cause of damage in the state.

According to research conducted as to policyholders, a staggering amount of Florida policyholders are unhappy with their insurance policies. There is no one factor that can be pinpointed because a combination of many factors are at play, based on the experiences and needs from customer to customer. However, big factors include the price of the policy and experiences with claims.

Many policyholders’ claims for damage are either underpaid or have been denied. If your claim has been denied or underpaid, it is recommended that you employ the services of a homeowners’ insurance claim attorney. By doing so, you increase the chances of getting your claim paid in full. In some cases, your attorney will work with you on a contingent basis, meaning that you will not pay attorney’s fees until your claim is paid.

Law Firm of David Low and Associates, P. A. | 844-96-CLAIM

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is purely for educational purposes, reflective of the time it was published. It is not to be understood as legal advice.

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