1) Don’t File Unnecessary Claims
It is illegal for the insurance company to increase your premium because you filed a claim due to a natural event, so don’t worry about filing a legitimate claim. On the other hand, insurance companies keep record of everything and if you file excessive “zero dollar” claims then you could be dropped. To protect yourself, it is best to know if a claim is necessary before you officially file the claim.
We will provide this valuable information FREE with our no cost – no obligation inspection. We will come to your house and inspect your home for any storm related damage. Following the inspection, will share relevant pictures with you and explain any damage that is found. Finally we will provide you with a recommendation as to the necessity of filing a claim or not.
2) Receive a Fair Insurance Inspection & Assessment
Fact: Insurance companies are in the business of collecting premiums, not paying claims. The fewer claims they pay the more profitable they are.
Fact: Insurance companies have been recommended to minimize the initial claim. Research has shown, paying a small claim or a partial claim will often satisfy 66% of homeowners and allows the insurance company to increases their profitability. (As reported in the publication “10 Worst Insurance Companies in America”.)
All of us are paying our insurance to protect us, and insurance is a business that is very profitable, but when we need them to cover a loss; that loss is working directly against their profitability. It is because of this insurance adjusters are commonly looking for excuses to not pay an insurance claim, instead of looking for the damage to your home. Simply put, the insurance company and the homeowner are often on opposite sides when filing a claim and assessing claimable damage.
This is where we can help; we operate as a professional advocate for you. Since we have already inspected your home to determine the necessity of filing a claim, meeting the adjuster is a simple service for us to provide. We will arrive early on the day of the adjusters meeting, and will have already prepared a written damage report to be shared with the adjuster. We will assist with the insurance assessment in a professional and respectful manner, being a help and not a hindrance. When handled this way, our participation does not create a problem with the insurance adjuster as they usually appreciate a second hand for assistance and safety. More importantly, this allows us to ensure the insurance accurately and completely assesses any storm related damage to your home. Our goal is the same as yours, to repair what has been damaged and take care of your home in the best way possible.
3) Insurance Adjustment Evaluation
Fact: Insurance companies will often minimize what is needed to complete the replacement of what has been damaged, leaving out units or materials needed for the repair.
Fact: Most insurance companies have adopted standardized unit pricing set by an impartial third-party, Xactimate, which they are obligated to pay.
Fact: You are not bound to accept your insurance company’s settlement if it is not in line with the local market pricing.
Just because the insurance agreed to the damage, doesn’t mean the written adjustment will accurately represent the damage to your home. A fair monetary settlement requires an accurate calculation of the units, a proper inventory of all needed materials & work, and knowledge of Xactimate pricing standards. We use the same pricing system and standards as the insurance companies. More importantly we will evaluate and reconcile your claims settlement for accuracy and complete coverage of the damage.
Upon receipt of the adjuster’s summary, we will meet with you to review and verify everything was accounted for properly. In addition, most adjuster’s summaries are very complicated and consist of many pages; while going through the adjuster summary we will answer any questions you have about the claim and/or what the adjuster did to cause the summary to look as it does.
4) Claims Negotiation
Fact: The majority of the time the insurance companies “short” the claim and do not pay the full amount for the repair. They do this by leaving off necessary items and/or in improper calculations. Correcting these inaccuracies is called the supplement process.
Fifty percent is a very conservative for the number of claims that need supplementing. In 2010 I was told by a 30 year veteran adjuster from one of the major national insurance companies that:
“When I started in the business we had less than 5% of claims that needed supplementing – but today more than 90% of the claims require some kind of a supplement.”
This same adjuster went on to explain the lack of training the new/young adjusters have and that they don’t really understand what they are estimating; that they are just doing what the computer program and their manager says/requires.
Unfortunately, this is the reality of the insurance adjusting business today. Adjuster training can be completed in a weekend course requiring no prior experience in insurance or construction. Even worse, the homeowner is not allowed to request one adjuster or another – you don’t know who is going to show up at your home or what their qualifications will be. Because of these realities, our job of checking the claim and resolving any inaccuracies directly with the insurance company is more valuable than ever before.
The claim will be reconciled, any inaccuracies will be identified, and a report will be written using Xactimate pricing standards and insurance terminology explaining why the item is necessary to properly complete the damage to your home. This report will then be submitted to the insurance company, requiring an adjuster to contact us to resolve the inaccuracy.
5) Prevention of Financial Loss
Fact: Replacement Cost Insurance Policies (RCV) are required to pay 100% of the cost to replace the work at the current market value, less the deductible value. But, if you don’t ask for all the proceeds and follow their procedure then the insurance will gladly keep the remainder of your settlement money.
Almost 100% of homeowners with an insurance claim will NOT receive full financial settlement in the value of the first check from the insurance company. This is because the insurance company will withhold a percentage portion of the agreed settlement until the work is complete and the appropriate paperwork is filed. Insurance companies call this withheld money, “depreciation.”
Insurance Depreciation is the most common misunderstanding customers have. Unlike depreciation on a vehicle; lost value never to be recovered again; depreciation on a replacement cost insurance claim is money that CAN BE RECOVERED. But, all of the insurance company’s paperwork must be completed and all procedures must be followed. We will take the time to explain the process, answer questions, and follow through with execution. It is our goal to not only provide a product and service, but also confidence and peace of mind throughout the entire process.
After the work has been completed and the paperwork filed, the insurance company typically takes about two weeks to process this paperwork before releasing final payment to you. But don’t worry, we don’t collect the final payment from you until you have it from them.