Insurance Litigation Group in Florida Answers Frequently Asked Questions about State Insurance Law and Property Damage Claims
We all buy insurance hoping we will never need it, but if a situation arises where we need to file a claim, many people are totally lost about how to proceed or are intimidated about dealing with insurance companies and their claims adjusters. The following information should help answer some of your most basic questions about insurance property damage claims. If you have other questions, or if you need immediate assistance filing a claim or resolving a dispute with your insurance company, call the Insurance Litigation Group at 786-529-0090 for a free consultation with an experienced and successful Florida insurance litigation attorney.
- What does a public adjuster do?
- Why do I need a public adjuster?
- Why do I need an attorney?
- What are the duties of the policyholder in the event of loss?
- What steps should I take before disaster strikes?
What does a public adjuster do?
The job of an insurance claims adjuster is to investigate a claim and determine whether coverage applies as well as determine the value of the claim. Insurance company adjusters and independent adjusters work for the insurance company and have the insurer’s interests in mind. A public adjuster works for the policyholder and is committed to advocating for the policyholder’s position. A public adjuster can provide immediate advice and assistance to help you mitigate your loss, secure your claim, fulfill your obligations under the policy, preserve evidence, and guide you through making necessary arrangements such as finding a temporary place to live. A public adjuster will measure and document the loss, uninfluenced by the insurance company, and will prepare and adjust your claim on your behalf.
Why do I need a public adjuster?
A public adjuster can help you fully recover for all your covered damages. The adjuster will conduct a complete damage analysis and inspect all areas to demonstrate the entire impact of the loss-producing event on your property. Public adjusters are trained in claims adjusting and in providing personalized service to the policyholder. Since their fees are contingent on the amount of reimbursement you get from your carrier, public adjusters are motivated to obtain the most accurate, comprehensive and fastest recovery on your behalf. If you rely solely on the word of an insurance company or its insurance adjuster, you are likely to have your claim denied or underpaid.
Why do I need an attorney?
An attorney has all the legal means and tools at his or her disposal to achieve the best result, including engaging in litigation as necessary. Public adjusters are fully aware of what they can and cannot do, and when they are unable to achieve what they know to be a full or fair resolution, many times they will refer the case to us.
What are the duties of the policyholder in the event of loss?
As a policyholder, being truthful in your application for insurance and keeping up with your premiums are essential to maintaining a valid policy in effect should you ever need it. In the event you do need to make a claim, you have further duties to the insurer, namely to notify them promptly about the loss and to cooperate with their investigation. Your specific duties may depend on the terms of your policy and the nature of your claim, but in general the following duties fall upon a policyholder in the event of loss:
- Give prompt notice of loss to the insurer
- Call the police if foul play is involved or suspected (such as theft or vandalism)
- Submit a signed, sworn proof of loss statement as required by the insurer
- Give a description of the circumstances surrounding the loss
- Prepare an inventory of damaged property
- Take reasonable steps to mitigate the damage
- Allow the insurer to inspect the property
- Cooperate in any investigation, including submitting to an Examination Under Oath
- Keep the insurer informed of changes or other developments
What steps should I take before disaster strikes?
The first step to protecting your valuable real and personal property is to purchase an adequate amount of insurance and the right type of coverage with the assistance of a reputable broker or insurance agent. The next step is to create a record of the property you are protecting, which may mean taking pictures or video of your real and personal property, or making copies or backups of your important business records. These records should be stored securely in the event of disaster, which may include off-site or on-line storage as appropriate.
If a storm is approaching, follow the recommended steps to protect your property by using sandbags, boarding up windows, etc. Be sure to follow any evacuation orders as well. Your safety and the safety of your family or employees should be paramount. Damaged property can be replaced; that is what insurance is for. If you run into difficulty with your claim, Insurance Litigation Group can help.