Public adjusters are professionals who help homeowners navigate the often-complicated process of filing insurance claims. They can be an invaluable resource to property owners, especially in cases where damage is extensive and it seems like there isn’t much hope for a full recovery. With that in mind, here are some tips from public adjusters that all homeowners should know:
1. Keep track of all information related to the loss
If you are involved in a catastrophic event, chances are that there will be so much to do and so many different people coming into your home that it can be easy to lose track of the important information. Take photos of all damage as soon as possible, even before any repairs have been done. If anything seems unclear, take notes about it at the time. It’s also recommended that you keep an account of interactions with adjusters and contractors during this process; having this information on hand can make everything easier later on.
2. Contact your agent immediately
It is highly recommended that property owners contact their insurance agent or public adjuster right away if they suspect they might need help during this process. This will ensure that they don’t miss out on anything that might be their responsibility, and it will also save time for all parties.
3. Keep written records of expenses
When you are filing an insurance claim, you should always keep detailed records of any money spent on items related to the incident. It is very common for insurance carriers to ask for receipts before they’ll reimburse property owners who have had extensive damage done to their home or belongings.
4. Don’t fall victim to disaster fraud
It’s easy to feel some sympathy for people who are desperate after a natural disaster has caused significant damage, but sometimes this desperation can lead them into some unscrupulous behavior. Anyone suspicious should contact the police department immediately; if someone offers an unbelievable deal over the phone, or asks for confidential information like bank account or credit card numbers, it’s best to avoid providing that information. Anyone who is the victim of disaster fraud should also contact their insurance carrier as soon possible so that they can start working on recovering any losses.
5. Use an established contractor for repairs
One of the most important things a homeowner can do after a disaster is to use reputable contractors for any repairs that need to be done. This will ensure not only that the work is completed properly but also that the owner isn’t taken advantage of during this time; public adjusters often encounter situations where people who are determined to keep costs low end up hiring unqualified workers and receiving inferior results. The internet has made finding reputable construction companies much easier, and costs can generally be lower when work is done by word-of-mouth recommendations.
6. Don’t accept a low estimate
One of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make is to settle for a very low estimate from an insurance adjuster or contractor. It’s often tempting to want to move on as quickly as possible after something catastrophic has happened, but taking this route can lead to problems later on. Estimates should always be viewed as just that: estimations of how much it will cost for repairs and other needs related to the incident. Some companies or individuals may offer lower rates than others, but they might not be qualified for the job and they might not actually use materials that will provide adequate support and protection in the future.
7. Know what you’re covered for
Disaster situations leave many people feeling so overwhelmed and confused that it’s easy for them to forget what they may be covered for. When people speak with their insurance company or public adjuster, it’s important to make sure that there are no misunderstandings about what is and isn’t covered under the policy. If you’re not entirely sure of your options, it will be helpful to talk with someone who can explain the different policies available in detail; this way, you can choose one that provides optimal coverage at an affordable price.
8. Don’t sign any documents without reading them first
It’s very common for homeowners who aren’t proficient in English to find themselves signing insurance forms that they don’t understand simply because they think they have no other option. In most cases, a homeowner can request assistance from a public adjuster or a trusted community member who can translate the documents for them. Most people would prefer not to deal with insurance companies at all, but it’s important to make sure that there aren’t any misunderstandings about what they are agreeing to before signing an insurance claim settlement.
9. Don’t neglect your home
Since most homeowners do not have sufficient coverage on their homes themselves, it’s up to the owner to take care of their property as best they can after a disaster. This may mean having several contractors’ complete repairs until the job is done right; it may also involve paying for power restoration and ensuring that sewage systems are covered until work has been completed there, too. It’s always better for everyone involved if you take steps early on to avoid a drawn-out cleanup process, and it’s a lot easier on a homeowner’s finances.
10. Don’t presume that you have the right to choose your company
The last thing that homeowners want is to have their insurance claim taken away from them by an adjuster or public adjuster because they didn’t follow proper protocol. The most common problem people run into is choosing the contractor they use for repairs; this may seem like such an insignificant decision at the time, but if someone isn’t qualified for the job, it can quickly become very costly—and most of these contractors will not handle all of the necessary paperwork involved with insurance claims after a disaster has occurred. If you’re not sure how to find good workers and you want to make sure that your claim is handled properly, you may want to consult with a public adjuster first.
11. Understand how expenses can be covered
The most important thing to remember about insurance claims after a disaster has occurred is that there are usually more options than people realize, and it’s up to the homeowner to understand their coverage completely before they accept any sort of settlement on their losses. Just because you feel like you’re out of options doesn’t mean that you have no other choice; in fact, this type of situation is one where many homeowners find themselves negotiating for additional compensation or threatening legal action if everything isn’t handled properly. Doing so might sound tough or intimidating but it will ultimately lead to better service and peace of mind.
12. Don’t Be Pressured Into Settlement Options That You Don’t Understand Or Agree With
The only thing that consumers have to protect them after a disaster is their insurance policy, and this means it’s important for people to make sure they are protected properly before they settle on anything. If you aren’t sure if your policy covers something or if you feel like something has not been taken care of appropriately, there are always other options available to you; the best course of action is to consult with a public adjuster who can look over the situation carefully and provide helpful guidance about what steps need to be taken next.