A hurricane is sea-storm-cyclone that generates winds of 74 miles per hour or greater. It typically occurs in conjunction with thunder, lightning, and rain. What do you do when your house is damaged? This is the time for a good insurance policy, a great lawyer and in some cases both.
The Aftermath Of A Hurricane: Crisis Control
Being a lifelong resident of Florida I’ve seen my shares of hurricanes. Some came and went with little to no serious damage, while others have caused devastating damage. We should feel some comfort that our insurance company will take care of us when we file an insurance claim. But, what happens when your insurance company fails you in regard to coverage and support? When should you get a lawyer involved in the process?
Picking Up The Pieces
Property damage and even loss of life can knock us off track. It can be an arduous task of picking up the pieces and rebuilding. Don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer to help settle with insurance companies that aren’t honoring your policy. But don’t settle for just any lawyer. This is something you need to consider carefully so vet your choice properly.
What Are Public Adjusters?
Often after suffering damage from a storm, like a flood damage, wind damage, trees falling through a rooftop and even lightning damage, homeowners may be contacted by a public adjuster. Public adjusters have licensed representatives that are legally qualified to manage claims on behalf of policyholders. They negotiate with the insurance companies with the aim of getting the best outcome for their clients. They will charge their clients a percentage of their settlement as compensation for their time and effort.
How Much Does A Public Adjuster Charge For Their Assistance?
Public adjusters typically receive between 10%-20% of the settlement they are engaged in.
What Exactly Do Public Adjusters Do?
- They represent the policy holder’s best interest (negotiate for their client) and help settle with insurance policy discrepancies with insurance companies
- They enter and oversee all submissions made to the insurance company
- They appraise all damages incurred
- They draw up all related documentation associated with the claim (Estimate, presentations, arguments, etc…)
- They will attempt to resolve issues with claims that are not covered under their client’s policy
The Pros And Cons Of Public Adjusters
Although it may be true that Public Adjusters usually charge less than a lawyer for their services, the thing to be aware of is that there are some adjusters who work for insurance companies. These public adjusters have their employers best interest at heart, not yours. There is currently no licensing or regulatory agency so be careful. Make sure you vet your choice. Check reviews and see if how high their customer satisfaction rating is.
You might come across an independent public adjuster that is good at what he/she does. But guess what, even though you may have found a good public adjuster, you’ll still have to hire a lawyer. So you’ll have to pay the public adjuster 10%-20% and then 25%-50% to a lawyer. Those figures are simply unacceptable.
Get yourself A Qualified Attorney To Represent You
When your claims are not honored as you feel they should when their compensation isn’t sufficient enough for your needs, begin researching lawyers. Contact only qualified lawyers with experience in hurricane damage claims. If you have a legitimate claim that your insurance company has denied, a qualified lawyer will know what avenues to explore to get the best outcome for you. They get you the best resolution without involving the unnecessary middleman (public adjuster).
Why Should I Hire An Attorney To Help With My Hurricane Damage Insurance Claim?
Insurance companies have a culture of paying their customers the least possible amount they can get away with. Often they deny claims that are legitimate because most people won’t fight for what’s rightfully theirs. You need to have a fearless presentation. Acquire a law firm with a proven track record of winning for their clients. Do your research and once you’ve collected three or more candidates call them and see if you can consult with them.
How Much Will It Cost To Hire An Attorney?
Believe it or not, they usually will not cost you any out of pocket expenses. This will be compensated from the insurance company, along with every fee and costs associated with your claim.
Everything You Should Do Before Contacting Anyone
- Note And Catalog All Damages (date all photos, audio, and notes)
- Analyze your insurance policy in totality
- Create a witness list and video record everyone along with their account of the damage and loss they incurred
- Create your list of loss and video as much as you can to make your claim stronger (Brand names, the number of the model, etc…)
- Recording materials for when you do contact your insurance company (paper for notes, audio recording devices) you want to keep a log of all contact with your insurance company
The damage associated with Irma alone was estimated at over $64 billion. Make sure you’re prepared and hired a qualified lawyer when you’re dealing with an insurance claim.