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.  Following are some steps that you can take to obtain the fullest financial payout.

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. Memorialize and retain all communications with your insurance 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 significant 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 insurance policy covers additional living expenses, you should include these expenses when itemizing your loss.  

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 licensed contractors to compare against the insurance company's adjuster’s estimate.

9. You should review your insurance 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 homeowner's insurance claims lawyer.

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].

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