If your home is damaged by a storm, fire, vandalism or another cause, you might be faced with tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage. When this type of devastation occurs, homeowners look to their insurance company to protect them from the risk of loss by providing money to repair or replace their home. As an insured, there are some important steps you can take to increase the monetary payout from your homeowners insurance carrier. I have provided a list of steps you can take to obtain the fullest financial payout based on my experience as a former insurance adjuster and diligent advocate for many policyholders.
1. Property owners should preserve all damaged components of the property even if the items are nothing more than demolished debris. The remnants of damaged personal property or home damage can provide evidence of the cause of loss and other important issues in terms of resolving your claim.
2. Log all communications with your company regardless of whether the form of communication is telephonic, U.S. mail, e-mail, text message or voice message. Further, important information should be communicated in written form, which includes a confirming e-mail or letter memorializing the subject matter of a phone conversation.
3. When the adjuster for the insurance company inspects the property, you need to show the adjuster every area where the property suffered structural damage. If you fail to show the adjuster even one area that was damaged, the estimated cost of repair could be off by enormous sums.
4. The documentation you provide to the insurance adjuster should include receipts for all expenses incurred to prevent further damage. Homeowners have a duty to mitigate damages and can be reimbursed for the reasonable costs of taking precautions to prevent further damage.
5. If your policy covers sundries and food stuffs, you should include this when itemizing your loss. The cost to restock your refrigerator and pantry can amount to hundreds of dollars.
6. An inventory of all damage to your property should be provided to your insurance company’s adjuster along with receipts and pictures. If you prepare a video showing the condition of your property and your personal property prior to a loss, this can simplify the claims process significantly.
7. Homeowners need to make sure that the adjuster is aware of the quality of the materials and upgrades in a home. Upgraded appliances, tile flooring and finish materials can increase the value of a claim by thousands of dollars.
8. The adjuster used by the insurance company will tend to provide estimates favorable to the insurance carrier because the adjuster knows who “butters his bread.” Policyholders should get estimates from contracts to compare against the insurance company adjuster’s estimation of the cost of repair.
9. You should review your policy to determine if exterior items and landscaping are covered. If they are covered, you should include these types of damaged items in your inventory.
10. If your insurance company provides a lowball estimate, you should seek legal advice from an experienced Miami homeowner insurance claims lawyer.
If you are struggling to get your homeowners’ insurance company to fully compensate you for damage to your home, I invite you to contact my law firm with your questions. I am an experienced homeowners insurance claims attorney who handles disputed claims in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.