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.