Frequently Asked Questions about Property Damage Claims: What to Know, What to Do and What to expect
What is covered in my policy?
Hurricane damage can be overwhelming from a homeowner’s policy perspective. Damage from debris (such as a fallen tree) or wind (such as rain blown through a broken window or roof) is generally covered. Damage from rising waters and street flooding is generally not covered (unless you have a separate Flood Policy).
How much is my Deductible?
Hurricane deductibles are a percentage of the total policy Coverage “A” limit. This coverage “A” number is generally found on your Insurance Policy Declaration Page (Dec Page). Example: If your Coverage “A” Limit is $200,000 and your Deductible Percentage is 2%, your deductible Amount: $4,000 (out of pocket expense on the claim).
What measures should I take to help with the processing of my claim?
The first thing you should do is take an inventory of your home. Make a list of any damage to your house and personal property. Note which parts of your property were damaged. Do the same for your valuables, for example electronics, vehicles, major appliances, and furniture. Taking pictures or video is a great idea. Having a visual record will help your claim. If you’re able to locate receipts for any of these items, do so at this time. Also keep all receipts for any extra living expenses incurred. Or any emergency repairs made.
DO NOT DISCARD ANY DAMAGED PORTION OF THE HOUSE BEFORE THE INSURANCE COMPANY HAS A CHANCE TO INSPECT IT.
How do I go about filing the claim and begin the process?
When you are ready to begin the process, contact our offices and we will dispatch an experienced Signer to come out and assess the damages. He/She will inform you at the time of assessment if you have a claim and will have you sign a Retainer Packet.
What is a Retainer Packet?
The retainer packet is a document that outlines the fees and cost (if any) of the services to be rendered, the scope of our representation, and gives us the authorization to contact the insurance company and your mortgage company in regards to your claim on your behalf.
Will there be anyone else visiting my home after I sign the Retainer Packet?
The Signer is your first point of contact. Just like how the insurance company sends experts in different fields to investigate your claim, our Firm also has different experts to put together your case to present to the insurance company in order to obtain maximum pay out for your claim. After the Signer initially visits your home, a Loss Consultant will assess damages, take measurements and write his estimate. We also send out a 3D Photographer that will come out to take detailed pictures of the damages. These pictures will give the Insurance Company the effect of standing in your home in real life. If needed, a Mitigation Company will be dispatched to dry up water, check for Mold etc.
What happens after signing the Retainer Packet?
After signing the Retainer, our experienced Claims Specialists will file your claim with the insurance company and will obtain a claim number. After they file your claim, within 24 to 48 hours an adjuster from the Insurance Company will be assigned. We will then coordinate an inspection with you, your Loss Consultant and the Insurance Company’s adjuster. It is very important that you make yourself immediately available for this appointment and keep it. If not, it could be months before the insurance company’s adjuster will be able to come out to assess the damages and this will prolong your claim.
How long will it take before my claim is processed by my Insurance Company and I am told if they will pay my claim?
After Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005, it took many months to years for many property owners to receive payouts. Partly because there were too few adjusters with the needed expertise and the insurance companies where simply not prepared to handle the volume of claims. Irma struck Florida’s coast line twice and was wider than the entire State. There was hardly anywhere in the State that was not affected.
Now the fact that most Adjusters in the country are in Texas dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, makes this situation that much harder.
Under Florida law, the insurance carriers must acknowledge and act upon communications with respect to claims within 14 calendar days. They must begin their investigation within 10 working days of receipt of proof of loss statements and they must provide a written statement confirming that the claim is being investigated and must affirm or deny coverage within 30 days after receiving a proof of loss. The claim — or undisputed portion of the claim — must be paid within 90 days.
Insurance Litigation Group will process your claim as efficiently as possible and try to get the insurance company to send an adjuster as soon as possible.
What happens after you receive an offer from my insurance company?
When we receive an offer, if any, we will relay the offer to you. In a perfect world, your insurance company will make a fair offer. But more often than not, this simply isn’t the case. If you feel the payout being offered is too low, we will either negotiate a more favorable settlement for you or push your claim further including filing a lawsuit against the insurance company on your behalf and going to trial if they don’t pay.
What happens if my claim is denied or partially denied? Is that the end of the claim process? Do I have other recourse against the insurance company?
Don’t be surprised if the insurance company’s first reaction is to claim that your damage is due to some pre-existing condition or assert that your claim is not covered under the terms of your policy or even cancel your policy based on recently-discovered “errors” in your application. If your claim is denied or even partially denied, we will look into the reason for denial. If our experienced and aggressive attorneys feel that the insurance company wrongfully denied your claim, our attorneys will continue to advocate on your behalf and litigate as necessary to see that you get the benefits you are entitled to.
What happens if the insurance company only wants to pay me for part of my claim? Do I have other recourse against the insurance company?
If your claim is underpaid, our aggressive and experienced attorneys will fight on your behalf to get you paid what the insurance company really owes you.
Don’t worry. Experienced and aggressive attorneys are on your side throughout the entire process.
For more information visit our website at www.restorationlaw.com