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Why You Shouldn’t Accept the Homeowners’ Insurance Claim Offer

When you’re dealing with catastrophic damages to your home, you likely just want the claim process to be over with and to start rebuilding. Repairing your property, replacing furnishings and paying extra expenses that you incurred weighs heavily on your mind and hearing that your claim has been approved and a check is on the way feels like a step closer to “normal”.  But there are several reasons why you may not want to accept their offer right away.

The adjuster’s appraisal might not cover all the costs to get the job done right. First, it is important to understand the difference between an insurance adjuster and a public adjuster. The big difference is that the insurance adjuster is paid by the insurance company and a public adjuster is one you hire to work for you. The latter is usually done on a contingency basis, so the bigger the payout you receive, the more they make.

Both adjusters will examine the damage, taking into account a number of factors including material costs, prevailing labor rates, labor hours, profit and overhead and the damage description.  However, a public adjuster has a bigger interest in getting you the compensation you deserve and will likely go further to justify the claim amount, including getting quotes from various contractors who would properly repair your property.  An insurance company may offer what they think is fair based on their adjuster’s findings and offer contractors who will repair it for their price. That doesn’t guarantee it would be repaired to your satisfaction. Remember that you can choose who will repair your property.

The low offer might be due to coverage issues.  Your insurance policy is a contract that is built on multiple provisions, conditions and exclusions, resulting in a complicated plan.  Because of all of these layers, it is easy for an insurance company to find a coverage issue.  Instead of a settlement offer, the company may send you a Reservation of Rights letter outlining potential policy violations, increased hazards, fraud indicators or other coverage problems.  Rather than declining coverage for your claim, the coverage issues become a reason for lowering your payment expectation, hoping that you’ll settle for a percentage of your claim rather than the full amount. If your claim is underpaid, we can review your case for free and make a plan to fight for the compensation you deserve.

Not all damage is evident immediately.  The insurance adjuster offers a property settlement based on the facts that are known such as damaged roof.  When the damage is extensive, there are likely to be a lot of unknowns not included in the assessment including damage in the interior walls that is undetectable until the work begins, mold or mildew that forms from water used to put out a fire and other scenarios.

Finally, depreciation is negotiable.  When an insurance company owes actual cash value for your destroyed contents, the amounts they offer are not set in stone. Adjusters rely on programs and charts to calculate depreciation based on average life-expectancy of your property and their age at the time of damage, not taking into account adjustments for barely used or well cared for items which will give you leverage in disputing their settlement values.

Evaluate the offer thoroughly and call us at 844-96-CLAIM to review your underpaid claim today.

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