From liability coverage to flood protection, there’s no shortage of insurance policies that homeowners should invest in to protect themselves in the future. One of the most important policies is homeowner’s insurance, which offers financial support in the event that a person’s home is burglarized or damaged.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies will try to avoid giving a full pay-out by disputing elements of a claim. When this happens, a public adjuster can help build a case for a fair settlement. Here’s a closer look at how homeowner insurance claims work, and how a person can use a public adjuster to maximize a claim and get the pay-out they deserve.
What is a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim?
A homeowner’s insurance claim is an assertion that is filed after damage is sustained to the home, typically due to a burglary or natural disaster. After reviewing the claim, an insurance company will reimburse the homeowner for the costs of the damage.
2021 data shows that 85% of homeowners in the United States have homeowner’s insurance and that the average user pays approximately $1,445 per year. While this may seem expensive, it is a worthy investment if a house undergoes extensive and costly damage. Here are some of the steps required to file a homeowner’s insurance claim.
Contact The Insurance Company
The first step one should take in the case of home damage is to contact their insurance company. The company will give provide important information, such as:
- Whether or not the policy covers the damage or loss
- How much time the homeowner has to file a claim
- Whether or not a repair estimate is required
In some cases, the insurance company may be able to provide a rough estimate of how much they will be able to cover and if the damage amount exceeds the deductible. A deductible refers to how much the homeowner will need to pay out of pocket—for instance, if one has a deductible of $1,000 and the damage costs $4,000, the insurance company should theoretically cover the $3,000 difference.
Most insurance companies require thorough documentation before offering a reimbursement. To ensure a fair pay-out, it’s important to gather any evidence that may be needed for the claim. This includes:
- Photographs of damage
- A home inventory list that describes the lost items and their value
- Receipts that prove the value of certain items
Homeowners should do their best to describe lost or damaged items in as much detail as possible. For example, if a valuable vase was stolen, the homeowner should provide a physical description and the exact cost they paid for it. Photographs of the missing item and receipts that prove the purchase will further substantiate the claims. The homeowner may also need to obtain estimates for any repair costs.
File A Police Report
This step applies to robberies as opposed to natural disasters or home damage. The insurance company will have expected the homeowner to file a police report, and they may even examine the report to confirm the details of the crime.
Fill Out Paperwork
Once a homeowner has completed the above steps, their insurance company will send them some files to complete. These include:
- Proof of loss form
- Property damage release
- Residency investigation checklist
Once these forms are filled, the insurance company will review them and determine the pay-out.
How Insurance Companies Decline Pay-Outs
Taking the proper steps before filing a claim can increase the chances of getting a fair settlement. However, an insurance company may attempt to decline or reduce the pay-out for the following reasons:
- The forms were submitted too late
- There is not enough information
- They suspect fraud
The insurance company might claim there is not sufficient proof that an item was stolen, or that damage to the home was the fault of the homeowner as opposed to the result of a natural disaster. Even if proper documentation is provided, the company may attempt to dispute its validity. They will also send out their own adjuster to evaluate the damages and help support their pay-out. In this case, the best bet is to hire an unbiased, fair public adjuster to help get a fair settlement.
How Public Adjusters Help Homeowners
Like an insurance company adjuster, a public adjuster will evaluate the damage in a home and calculate the expected cost. Unlike an insurance company adjuster, a public adjuster is on the side of the homeowner. In other words, their goal is to make sure that the person filing the claim receives a thorough, fair settlement—they will not try to minimize the damage to help the insurance company. Some methods public adjusters use to accomplish this include:
- Complete analysis: Public adjusters typically have more training than insurance company adjusters and can provide a more extensive analysis of the damage in a home.
- Paperwork management: Public adjusters help clients navigate the paperwork involved in filing a claim, and they ensure that clients are not missing information and are keeping up with deadlines.
- Claim presentation: Public adjusters help homeowners present their claim in a clear, precise manner. This includes handling stressful phone calls, sending e-mails and organizing the right documentation.
The purpose of a public adjuster is to put the homeowner on the same playing field as the insurance company. They will work with the homeowner to make sure that they are not being cheated and provide resources and knowledge that the average person lacks which provides for a faster processed claim.
The Office of Program and Policy Analysis & Government Accountability (OPAGGA) conducted a study in the state of Florida, which showed that public adjusters negotiate up to a 747% larger settlement (before removing the contingency payment) from insurance companies for commercial business and homeowner insurance
Contact A Public Adjuster Now!
If a homeowner is having trouble deciphering the complex paperwork involved in a homeowner’s insurance claim, or if their claim was just denied, they should retain the services of a public adjuster. Since 2009, Platinum Public Adjusters has been helping residents in Miami, Florida, receive the settlements they deserve.
Platinum Public Adjusters believes that no homeowner should have to pay costly repairs that should be covered by their insurance company. They thoroughly investigate claims and can even have them re-opened if denied. Email them today and get the maximum pay-out!