“These past two year, Mother Nature unleashed her fury, resulting property losses of terrifying, historical amounts,” says Dan Veroff, a San Francisco attorney.
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1. Take whatever the adjuster tells your as gospel
Insurance companies hire a large number of “cat storm chasers”, almost all of whom are from outside the state. These insurance adjusters rarely have the specialized knowledge and training to create accurate estimates of repair costs or state law that applies to your loss.
They will often tell claimants that they do not have the same insurance coverage as their policy.
Do not follow their advice without consulting an attorney. (I will be discussing the type of attorney I recommend to you in a moment. This is very important!
2. Assume the first payment is complete and comprehensive.
A CAT adjuster will usually bring a colleague who is part of the insurance company. They will give you a quick estimate in your car, and then cut you a check for rebuilding costs and temporary living expenses.
Here is where things get sticky. The insured will usually meet with a contractor to prepare a bid for repairs. However, it may take several months before it arrives and it will almost always cost more than the adjuster has paid.
You could have shared a rebuilding estimate with the adjuster if you had one available prior to the loss. You are now back at square one and your temporary housing payment has been reduced further. Your claim may have been assigned to a second or third adjuster because CAT adjusters usually only serve a brief time.
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3. It is impossible to get an estimate for rebuilding your home the same way it was before the CAT loss.
Consequences – An adjuster will likely undervalue your claim. It is not unusual for homeowners to wish to make changes to the original design of their home after a disaster. Your carrier must pay for rebuilding your home in the same way it was before the loss. You can rebuild something else, but the rebuilding costs will determine your maximum insurance budget. The adjuster will not accept proof of your home if you don’t have any modifications or improvements. This is because they won’t be able to dispute your claim and keep their low estimate.
4. It is not a good idea to make a list of all the items in your house.
Consequences Who will be able to recall all the details, including the names of the suits and dresses, or the exact dates? You will not receive payment if you don’t have proof.
This inventory can be assembled in advance so that you can increase your personal property coverage and avoid being underinsured. The list can be saved to the cloud.
5. A lawyer who does not have experience in insurance law should be hired
Consecutions: Losing your rights and missing deadlines. It can take years to get involved in litigation that could have taken only a few months. Finding out that the case went badly.
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Insurance law is a unique area of law. You should not believe any lawyer who says they know anything about insurance law, such as tax, personal injury, divorce and tax. Because they lack knowledge, inexperienced lawyers with property insurance law lose cases.
Look for a lawyer that focuses primarily on property insurance.