Ten Months After Hurricane Harvey and Many Still Haven’t Reached Settlement Concerning Insurance Claim

Ten months after Hurricane Harvey and many folks still have not reached a settlement with their insurance company.  On the other hand, others have reached a “full settlement” and don’t even know that they were shortchanged by the insurance company.  Without the help of a qualified licensed professional, there is no way for them to know.  Yes, I’m talking about a licensed public adjuster.  Desperate times call for professional help and Harvey definitely caused an extremely desperate situation for many.

So many in the greater Houston area were devastated by the floods that Hurricane Harvey brought.  However, the devastation doesn’t end there.  It has been unrelieved as many property owners continue to battle with the insurance companies to pay what they are owed.  Some may have simply settled thinking they were paid correctly.  Many in the business would advise against seeking the professional help of a licensed public adjuster to handle your insurance claim, incorrect in their belief that the insurance companies will just get out their checkbook and pay when it comes to a catastrophe of this magnitude.  This simply isn’t true. Continue reading “Ten Months After Hurricane Harvey and Many Still Haven’t Reached Settlement Concerning Insurance Claim”

Understanding What Your Insurance Policy Says

Most people have some type of insurance coverage – homeowners, health, auto, life, etc.  However, most people are not able to fully interpret the language in an insurance policy and therefore don’t always have a full understanding of whether they are adequately covered or not.  This is especially true when it comes to homeowners policies or commercial property coverage.  As a result, lots of folks may find themselves thinking they had coverage that they don’t or may even find themselves to be underinsured and didn’t realize this until it’s too late.  Do you understand what your insurance policy actually says?

The purpose of insurance is to reduce your exposure to the effects of particular risks.  Insurance serves as a means to indemnify you after a loss and put your property back together to it’s pre-occurrence condition without costing you anything out-of-pocket other than any applicable deductible.  Not having insurance at all is taking a huge gamble and hoping that things work out for the best. Continue reading “Understanding What Your Insurance Policy Says”

The Danger and Disruption a Fire Insurance Claim Causes

The danger and disruption cause by a fire is enormous.  Losses from fire can range from a total loss to a simple clean up of a few walls and everything in between. Each fire claim is very different so hopefully we can help you understand how to speak the lingo and how to set your expectations when dealing with the insurance company.

First, is it safe to enter the home? Not usually.

Assuming that the fire is minimal (in regards to safety), the fire department typically soaks the area when putting out the fire. This creates a potential hazard of wet sheet rock falling from the ceiling. There is also likely broken glass on the floor in addition to other tripping hazards due to the firefighters moving things around in order to put the fire out. In addition, the air is now toxic. Continue reading “The Danger and Disruption a Fire Insurance Claim Causes”

Cleaning Up Your Contents After a Hurricane

‘Tis the season to be jolly and deck the halls with Christmas joy. Some may find that difficult this year as they are still in the middle of cleanup and restoration as a result of the 2017 Hurricane Season. This season was exceptionally tough on folks in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Some of the issues in Texas involve the damage and contamination caused by the “black” water that destroyed their contents. CAT adjusters flooded the area immediately with the logic and advice that these items might be cleaned, particularly the pots, pans, dishes and glassware. We came across an article actually written by a cleaning company that stated the only thing that could be cleaned to a safe usable level after this contamination is the glassware. This coming from a company who earns its’ living cleaning items. They are referring to contents that were sitting in flood waters, waters contaminated by sewage and chemicals.

Continue reading “Cleaning Up Your Contents After a Hurricane”

Turn Around Your Flood Claim With Professional Help

A flood is never fun to deal with. When it comes to insurance claims, the worst type of claim you can have is a flood claim. Flooding causes a devastating amount of damage, compounded by the fact that you have limited coverage and it can take months to settle a claim. The following is a breakdown based upon my experience on what to expect during a typical flood claim.

How bad is the water itself?

The flood water is typically category 3 water, also referred to as “black water.” Category 3 water can include all kinds of contaminants such as gasoline, oils, sewage, other chemicals and harmful bacteria, salt (if you are on or near the ocean), etc. It is important that you not come in contact with this water or rebuild your home without first cleaning and treating all affected areas of the property that is not being removed or disposed of. Continue reading “Turn Around Your Flood Claim With Professional Help”

Shortage of Insurance Adjusters in Wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Hurricane season is at its peak and folks are still in recovery mode following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Now, there appears to be a shortage of insurance adjusters, especially in Florida where basically policyholders are having to wait because the insurance adjusters are all in Houston because Harvey was the first to hit.

Insurance companies are advertising for adjusters and trying to build up their rosters to cover the areas hit the hardest. Simply put, they are using anyone with a pulse to help out because of the high volume of claims being reported right now. Property owners are the ones who will be left on the short end of the stick as inspections are being performed by people who just don’t have the experience or expertise to properly inspect and estimate the claim. This leaves huge holes in the estimate, huge discrepancies in the claim value, and makes it even more important for the property owners to hire their own claim professional and have an expert on their side. Continue reading “Shortage of Insurance Adjusters in Wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma”

Blue Tarp Law Taking Effect in Texas September 1, 2017

With the pounding South Texas has taken for days now thanks to Hurricane Harvey, people are asking how the Blue Tarp Bill (HB 1774), which goes into effect September 1, 2017, is going to impact these claims.

Consumers and business property owners need to be aware that written “notice” of a claim must be sent to the insurer prior to September 1, 2017 to take advantage of the existing 18% interest rate for unlawfully delayed claims. However, this applies to wind claims, not flood claims.

For a better explanation of the changes and how it may affect you or those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, see more at the following.

Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claims Misinformation

 

The Tell-Tale Signs You Need a Public Adjuster

I’m always telling people to choose their battles. Whether it comes to your kids or other family and friends (or even work), there’s no need to be the devil’s advocate all the time. When it comes to a property damage insurance claim, it can certainly turn into a battlefield and it’s no fun. However, this is a battle worth taking on and it’s important to know what to do to minimize your stress and maximize your claim settlement which means getting what you are owed under the terms of the policy.

In this situation, it is always best to have a licensed professional on your side, especially when you are battling with an insurance company. You have the right to bring in a licensed public adjuster to represent your side of the claim. Here are a few of the tell-tale signs that make it important to secure the services of a claim professional:

• Documenting the damages. Most property owners don’t have the experience to recognize property damage or what to look for besides the obvious. An insurance company has an entire team of claim professionals protecting their interest – shouldn’t you? A licensed public adjuster is your team. A public adjuster is trained in policy coverage and most have worked at one time or another for an insurance company and therefore know the business from the inside out. A claim can quickly turn complicated and it will become crucial to have a knowledgeable claim professional on your side.

Public Adjuster properly inspects and documents the claim for you.

• Terms of your coverage. Some agents don’t even fully understand the terminology used and scope of the coverage they are selling, so how on earth are you expected to. Even just the basic terminology used in a policy is confusing and causes a need for interpretation. A licensed public adjuster is trained to interpret the coverage for you and decipher the exclusions and endorsements. This can be key to determining whether there is coverage or not based on the peril causing the damages. A denial of coverage is bad news and certainly deserves a second opinion of a licensed professional who works for you the policyholder.

Public Adjuster does the estimating and negotiating for you.

• Who has time to deal with the claim process? You have a job and kiddos to run around. The last thing you need to add to your to-do list is an insurance claim. A licensed public adjuster does the work for you alleviating the stress and time from your plate. This is particularly valuable when you consider having to make yourself available for every adjuster meeting, inspection, and expert visit for viewing the property. The time it takes to document the claim and then navigate through the process is reason alone to hire someone to do it for you. This becomes especially certain when dealing with a fire or flood claim and having to put together an inventory of contents affected by the event.

Hail and wind damaged roof.

• Insurance company is working at a snail’s pace. A property damage claim can become a lengthy process when an insurance company drags its feet and keeps you hanging. This can be especially frustrating when your property is a wreck or at risk of additional damage because of exposure. A licensed public adjuster can be the force behind pushing the claim through at a more reasonable pace.

A beating heart is the tell-tale sign that a public adjuster is needed when it comes to property damage insurance claims – the indicator, signal or sign that conveys the status of a situation. You’re not alone and life is too short to spend it fighting battles. Contact a licensed claim professional to evaluate your claim and help protect your most valuable assets.

Why Would a Roofer Say Don’t Hire a Public Adjuster?

Often we have a potential client call after they have visited with their insurance agent or maybe even their contractor or roofer. They question us specifically on why to hire a public adjuster. Usually this means they have already been told by one of the foregoing not to hire a public adjuster. Let’s just say that, in our opinion, if someone is telling you not to hire a public adjuster, then most likely that person views them as a nuisance to their work or has maybe had a bad experience in the past with one. Either way, there is a motive for this suggestion and, like any other profession, there are good ones and bad ones.

What you need to know is that a public adjuster is required to be licensed by the department of insurance in each of the states they work. The job of the public adjuster is to conduct a thorough inspection of the damages and to put together an estimate that fully encompasses the scope and costs of all repair. They are also going to do their best to protect you from any unnecessary costs that might be suggested by the insurance adjuster. Having someone who works exclusively for you also means that you have a licensed professional to manage and negotiate the claim start to finish, relieving you of much time and stress in a process that you have little or no experience with.

A licensed public adjuster also knows there is much more to hail damage than just your roof — windows, gutters, vents, siding, etc. Specifically, a roofer is most likely going to be advising you about just the roof and absolutely is not licensed to negotiate your claim with the insurance company and in fact is barred by law from doing so. A public adjuster is trained in policy coverage and knows the tricks of the trade. They most likely have previous experience working for an insurance company and know the business from the inside out.

The insurance claim process is not a fun one for sure. Just another reason for you to reach out to a licensed public adjuster in your area or another qualified claim professional and get the answers you need to get the settlement you deserve.

Storm Damaged South Suffers Weekend Full of Devastating Tornadoes

The death toll continues to climb as we emerge from a weekend filled with severe weather and tornadoes. From Mississippi to Georgia, storms pounded the area with heavy rain, high winds, and one of the worst tornado outbreaks seen. A state of emergency has been issued in Georgia and Mississippi as authorities report at least 15 deaths in Georgia alone.

weather.com – severe storms hit Georgia

Florida apparently was not spared from the devastation as tornado rips through Palm Beach damaging school district and other properties. The homes and properties there are generally built to sustain hurricane force winds, but that didn’t protect them from these severe storms.

wptv.com – schools closed in Palm Beach neighborhood

If you find yourself in a situation like this, there is help. Find a public adjuster or other claim professional near you to handle your insurance claim. You have enough to worry about without the added burden of insurance.