When you file a property damage insurance claim after a hurricane or tropical storm, one of the first things your insurance company should do is send an adjuster to survey and document the damage. If you are waiting for an adjuster to come to your home in South Florida, here are some important considerations to keep in mind:
7 Tips and Facts for Dealing With Insurance Adjusters for South Florida Homeowners
1. It is Important to Document the Damage Before the Adjuster Arrives
For purposes of your insurance claim, you will want to document the damage to your home as soon as possible. Ideally, this means before the adjuster arrives. Take photos, videos and notes, and try to be as comprehensive as possible.
2. You Have the Right to Be Present During the Adjuster’s Inspection
If at all possible, homeowners should be present during their insurance adjusters’ inspections. You know your home and belongings better than anyone else (and certainly better than the adjuster), and if you are present you can make sure that the adjuster documents all of your losses.
3. The Adjuster May or May Not Work for the Insurance Company
After major hurricanes and other catastrophic events, insurance companies often hire independent adjusters to help handle the high volume of homeowners’ claims. This means that the adjuster will not necessarily be familiar with your insurer’s standard policy language or its practices and procedures.
4. The Adjuster May or May Not Have Experience with Property Damage Inspections
While many experienced adjusters are highly-skilled, the barriers to qualifying as an adjuster are minimal. When insurance companies need to hire a large number of adjusters quickly, it is not unusual to hear of situations in which adjusters are conducting their first inspections following catastrophic storms.
5. The Adjuster Will Not Be Familiar with the Terms of Your Insurance Policy
Regardless of the adjuster’s background and experience, he or she will not be familiar with the terms of your individual homeowner’s policy. As a result, you should not rely on the adjuster for information about your insurance coverage, and you cannot expect the adjuster to have a clear understanding of your legal rights.
6. It is Important to Take Note if You Disagree with the Adjuster’s Practices or Conclusions
As you walk with the adjuster during his or her inspection, try to make note of anything that makes you concerned. Is the adjuster not being thorough? Is he or she ignoring what you say? Is he or she suggesting that some damage might have been pre-existing? These are all issues you may eventually need to discuss with an attorney.
7. You Have the Right to Hire a Public Adjuster
Finally, to make sure that you receive maximum coverage under your policy, it may be a good idea to hire a public adjuster. Unlike an insurance adjuster, a public adjuster works for you, and he or she will inspect the damage to your home with your best interests in mind.
Contact the Fort Lauderdale Property Damage Lawyers at Saavedra | Goodwin
For more information about dealing with your homeowner’s insurance company after a damaging storm, you can contact our offices to speak with an experienced property damage attorney. To schedule an appointment at your convenience, please call (954) 767-6333 or tell us how we can help online now.