Financial Fail — When the Unexpected Happens

Your biggest financial fail may come in a form you never expected. We all make plans for retirement, negotiate prices on purchases, watch our spending, and do everything we can do to make money and save money. One thing you can’t plan for is a catastrophic event resulting in damage to your home or business, and the financial impositions that follow.

It’s impossible to plan for something sudden and unexpected. The reason is not because of the damage itself, but rather the likelihood of an unrealistically low settlement offer which usually has all to do with the timing and broad swath affected by the event. When your property is damaged, naturally your first priority is getting it back to its original condition. Unfortunately, this can be stressful on you with respect to carefully assessing the damages and calculating the true cost of repairs.

Let’s say you have a flood and the very next day your insurance adjuster arrives to quickly inspect the damages. He then advises you to go ahead and begin repairs and that the insurance company will be issuing payment soon. The insured rushes to find a reasonably priced contractor to begin the cleanup and repairs under the belief that the insurance company is going to pay. During this process, you and your family are doing the best you can to comply with the insurance company’s request, including creating a contents inventory.

You have to remember that by rushing the process, a complete and thorough investigation and inspection of the property hasn’t been accomplished. This also means a true and accurate appraisal with respect to the cost of repair and replacement hasn’t been accomplished either. An alternative to this more traditional approach would be to hire your own representation from the beginning of the claim who will make certain that your claim is thoroughly documented.

If you choose to hire a public adjuster, you can expect to pay a contingency fee. Don’t get discouraged by the thought of paying a fee for this professional service. A good public adjuster adds more value to the claim and saves you time, energy, and stress. By hiring a good claim professional to represent you, it shifts the burden onto someone else who does this for a living.

While planning for a catastrophe is impossible, you can be proactive and be prepared by locating someone who will work on your behalf. My advice after a major loss is to first call your insurance company and second hire your own claim representative.