Sometimes it feels like everyone and everything is working against you and filing an insurance claim is no different. If you have suffered property damage to your home or personal property, you need to provide your insurance company with information to validate your claim for reimbursement. Unfortunately, it can seem somewhat daunting since it’s probably an unfamiliar process for you and you are probably already distressed from incurring the damage in the first place. Thankfully, there are some resources available to you if you need assistance.
- Public Adjusters
In the event of a serious claim that damages or destroys your home, you should consider hiring a public adjuster to help you present your claim to the insurance company. Public adjusters are insurance claim adjusters that represent you in your claim with the insurance company. It’s not exactly the same as hiring an attorney as the relationship with your insurance is not necessarily adversarial. However, a public adjuster understands the details of your insurance policy and can help you maximize the recovery from your insurance policy. Usually it’s not necessary to hire a public adjuster unless you have a very large loss. Since public adjusters are licensed, you have that secondary benefit of knowing they have a regulatory agency they must answer to. As homeowners claims are commonly what they deal with every day, you receive a tremendous benefit from having an experienced pro on your side. You can also read more about them in our prior blog post.
- Department of Insurance
Because insurance companies are regulated at a state level, each state has a department of insurance that oversees the insurance companies doing business in the state. If you have an issue with a claim, your state’s agency will usually have resources available to assist you with general information or dispute resolution. Often, statutes or guidelines within each state dictate the process in which claims must be adjusted with policyholders. You can find these on the state websites and they will generally also offer assistance over the phone. Insurance companies do not like complaints being filed against them as these metrics are often tracked and published. If you feel that you are not being treated fairly, do not hesitate to contact your state agency. When you do contact the department of insurance, make sure you have all the documentation of your claim and keep any correspondence received from your insurance company.
- Insurance Agent
Your insurance agent bridges the gap between you and the insurance company. Because the agent should be very familiar with your home insurance policy, he should also be able to offer you some insight and guidance in the event of a problem with your claim. Additionally, your insurance agent can often intercede on your behalf where there is a dispute. Your agent is generally paid a commission based on your insurance premium. If he wishes to continue earning commission, he has a vested interest in keeping you happy with the product that he sold. At the same time, if the agent places a lot of business with your home insurance company, he may also have some influence with the insurer that can be beneficial to you.