The claims process begins long before the actual loss. In order to get properly and timely compensated in the event of an Insurance Claim, it is important to take the following precautionary steps:
1. Have a copy of your ENTIRE policy readily available, understand the types and amounts of coverage you have
2. Film a video and take numerous pictures of the interior and exterior of your home and an inventory list of all of the items of personal property that you have in your home.
3. Keep this list, video and pictures outside of your home.
LOSS MITIGATION & DAMAGE CONTROL
When a loss occurs, whether it is water damage, fire, flooding, hurricane, vandalism or otherwise; you should make every effort to mitigate damages and salvage whatever you can. Like, using tarps, create ventilation, contact remediation companies and protect your valuables.
CONTACT A PUBLIC ADJUSTER
Contact Your Public Adjuster to facilitate with the claims filing and handling processes. You need to provide your adjuster with all of the above listed documentation so that the claim can be handled professionally and settled in a timely manner.
FILING THE CLAIM
It is ALWAYS recommended to hire a Public Adjuster. If you hire a Public Adjuster, it is strongly recommended that the Public Adjuster actually call in the claim information. The information you will be asked when filing the claim will include: Type of Loss, Date of Loss, Loss Location and questions regarding what you have done since the loss to mitigate damages.
**It is important not to provide too much detail or information in the form of an opinion as whatever you state can be used against you. There are many policy exclusions and limitations that Insured’s are not familiar with and your statements are checked against those exclusions and limitations so that the Insurance Company can deny or limit coverage.
THE PROPERTY INSPECTION
Within 72 hours of the loss, the Insurance Company will send out an “independent adjuster” to evaluate the damages, assess coverage and make recommendations to the Insurance Company. The only thing “independent”
At this inspection, the adjuster will ask many questions, look at the damage, take measurements and photographs and write up some notes to include in his estimate. DO NOT assume that just because he is doing these things the claim will be paid. Usually, the adjuster has no authority and is simply there to gather facts and information for the Insurance Company so that they can determine coverage. Normally, they use this information to claim some exclusion such as long term damage or wear and tear. Be very careful what you do and say with this independent adjuster.
THE WAITING GAME
Insurance Companies don’t act quickly. They are known for delaying your claim payment and being unresponsive to your calls, emails and faxes. When your “independent adjuster” comes out to your house, ask him for the name and contact information for the “in-house adjuster” who will be handling your claim. You should follow up with a phone call or email to make sure that the “in-house adjuster” is doing everything possible to settle your claim in a timely and thorough manner.
STEP 7: Payment or Denial Letter
THE INITIAL PAYMENT
If your claim is approved, you will be sent payment for the amount of damages estimated by the “independent adjuster” less any policy deductible or coverage exclusions. This is NOT the final payment. It is strongly recommended that you DO NOT sign a release or any other similar document that would prevent you from making a supplemental payment request or re-opening the claim. You can deposit this check into your account.
**If you did not hire a Public Adjuster from the onset and you are not satisfied with your payment amount, now is another great time to contact a Public Adjuster to re-open your claim and obtain additional funds.
THE DENIAL LETTER
If you are one of the many Insured’s who is unfortunate to receive a denial letter, the claim process is not over and under no circumstances should you accept the denial without questioning and seeking professional advice of a Public Adjuster or an Attorney who specializes in these denied claim matters.
Very often, Insurance Companies make mistakes and incorrectly or erroneous deny an Insurance Claim. It is only when a professional thoroughly examines the facts, circumstances and reasons for denial that the Insurance Company often retracts this denial and issues payment.
Once again, if you receive a denial letter, immediately contact a Public Adjuster or an Attorney who specializes in denied insurance claims.
GETTING MORE MONEY- SUPPLEMENT, APPRAISAL, MEDIATION OR LITIGATION
As previously stated, just because you received a check from the Insurance Company, your claim is not over. Depending on your particular policy, there are a number of options available for you to pursue additional monies for your claim. These options include requesting supplemental payment, going to Mediation, invoking Appraisal or proceeding to Litigation.
The avenue chosen strongly depends on the particular facts and circumstances of each particular claim. As no claim is the same, no claim should be handled with the same strategy or assumptions.
Elite Insurance Services Corp., provides the most thorough and professional insurance claim representation in the industry. We Represent “YOU” The Policy Holder.
Contact Us: 786-486-4280
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Elite Insurance Claims Services Corp specializes in representing consumers in the adjustment of insurance claims for both commercial and residential property losses.We have many years of experience in providing assistance to all types of insurance claims.