DON’T GET BLOWN AWAY BY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY AFTER ANDREA
StormHelpTeam.org’s Secrets to Securing the Most Money in Your Insurance Claims
By Property Damage/Disaster Insurance Guru Scott Mager[i]
With Andrea upon us, people will struggle to secure the right information when they have property damage. The more urgent and detailed you are in pursuit of your claim, the more dollars that may be available. Here are important secrets to maximize your chances to secure the most money the fastest.
- CHECK TO SEE IF GOVERNMENT RELIEF IS AVAILABLE Check to see if the Governor has declared a ‘disaster,’ because then FEMA is activated and if the State is approved for Individual Assistance, you can secure up to $31,000 in aid in the form of immediate repairs (electricity/electrical work, fuel for energy sources, plumbing, etc.), as well as other assistance.
- NOTIFY ALL INSURANCE COMPANIES. Damages can be caused by wind, water or other ways. Notify each insurance company for which you pay a premium that may cover your claim, such as flood insurance, homeowners insurance or business insurance.
- TAKE/IDENTIFY MORE PICTURES AND VIDEO Take many pictures and video of every aspect of your house from different angles, including those showing damages. Detail on the video or write on each pictures (or state on the video) exactly where the room or damaged item is located.
- NOTIFY INSURANCE COMPANIES OF REPAIRS Get multiple estimates and notify each insurance company in writing of anticipated repairs, informing them of the date and list of repairs (with pictures, repair estimates, expert reports included), offering to have them revisit the premises, speak to your contractor or make suggestions on repairs. If you can, retain samples of damaged property, such as shingles or other roof materials, wood from floors or wall, stucco, pieces of doors or windows, etc.
- HIRE THE RIGHT EXPERTS You need to retain the best experts who have specific and substantial experience in handling storm claims. You may need a special kind of engineer, roofer, window inspector, field adjuster or all of them. Your windows might not be broken, but they may have failed due to the mass winds. Your roof or structure may have suffered damage that you cannot see. There are certain kinds of reports and estimates that must be produced to maximize getting the most money the quickest and only certain experts know how.
- CONSTANTLY WRITE Do not rely on oral representations from anyone. Write letters or emails after every discussion with an insurance company or adjuster, whenever a representation is made, a promise provided or a number stated. They should be in sufficient detail as to properly reflect what has been promised, completed, not completed, etc. and should request they let you know in writing if there is any inaccuracy in what you have written.
- CONSIDER HIRING AN ATTORNEY OR GOING TO STORMHELPTEAM.ORG The insurance companies know that individuals and business owners are unaware of the technical provisions of complicated insurance policies or what specific requirements you MUST complete or you get nothing. The data shows that insurance companies pay sooner and in larger amounts when you retain a storm-damaged- litigation-experienced attorney who has handled many storm (property damage) claims.
If you are unsure about what to do or whether to hire someone, go to sites like www.StormHelpTeam.org and fill out the form (or call 855-58 –STORM), and for NO CHARGE, an expert will call you to explain the insurance process and your options.