Tips for Maximizing Recovery When Filing a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim

J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
Founder of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.

This blog post provides suggestions that can increase the payout on homeowner’s insurance claim.

Research, Research, Research: Insurers are not all created equal.  There are many services that can be used to evaluate insurance carriers.  A policyholder who conducts some preliminary research prior to purchasing a policy will have a better feel for an insurer regarding issues like response time, reputation for hassles involving claims, and speed of adjustment and/or payment of claims.  For example, Consumer Reports puts out a review of carriers that evaluates their reliability and their claims handling efficiency among other factors.  If a policyholder does not engage in any research prior to securing homeowner's insurance, the insured might find the going tough sledding when it comes time to file a claim.

For example, a homeowner told a story to Consumer Reports about his experience after his home suffered significant damage in a tornado.  Despite State Farm’s status as the largest home insurance company in the nation, the insurer took two weeks to get an adjuster out to inspect the property.  The homeowner also reported that the insurer dragged its feet about paying the $75,000 claim and left the insured short by several thousand dollars.  A Consumer Report study rated State Farm as a middling level insurer in terms of its customer satisfaction among homeowners.

By contrast, a couple, insured by a top-rated firm in the same study, Amica, reported receiving “steller” service.  The couple’s roof was damaged by three feet of snow and ice dams.  The amount of the damage was estimated to be approximately $30,000.  The damage was caused by melt water dripping down walls, along the top of hardwood floors, and across ceilings. The insurer handled the claim over a phone call and sent an adjuster to the premises the next day.  The insurance company agreed to pay for all the damage and cut a check within the same week.

In all fairness, these individual stories do not necessarily reflect trends, so prospective policyholders should be cautious about making broad generalizations about the named insurance companies based on these two media reported scenarios.  However, the stories do illustrate that the quality of coverage can vary, so homeowners need to do their homework before selecting an insurer.

Be Prepared:  While policyholders should hope that their claims process proceeds moves smoothly, the claim experience is often marked by a contentious dispute.  While an insured should try to interact with his or her insurer in a mature and polite manner, the insured needs to be prepared for battle.  This preparation might involve asking an agent or broker you trust about your current home value, permissible perils, minimum coverage limits for full protection in the event of a total loss, and potential insurance gaps.  A contractor should also be retained to inspect your home prior to and following any loss, which can provide valuable evidence in adjusting the loss. 

You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].

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