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Insurance Advice: Never Take The Adjusters Word For It!

Posted by Joe Brennan | Posted in Fire Insurance Claims, Homeowners Insurance, Independent Appraiser, Insurance Claims Help | Posted on 02-25-2010

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Many policyholders will rely on the adjuster sent by their insurance company to arrive for a meeting, inspect the claim damages, and provide an estimate for what they believe is a fair settlement of the claim. This is a mistake of enormous proportion that should almost NEVER HAPPEN! Insurance advice rule number one is… Don’t Let It Happen!

I’m not insinuating that there isn’t any good, hard working, professional adjusters remaining out there. I’m also not insinuating that all the adjusters are not trustworthy, or that all adjusters are trying to cheat people. There are many professional and courteous adjusters that go above the call of duty for many policyholders. However, are we so blind an delusional to think that an adjuster can’t make mistakes, that there will never be an adjuster that misses hidden damages, or that every adjuster who works for your insurance company has multiple years of experience with the type of claim on your building? Not Very Likely!

Have you ever obtained a second opinion before having a mechanic do major work on your car? Have you, or anyone you know, ever secured a second opinion before having surgery? A second opinion when hiring a landscaper, when buying a computer, or when hiring a contractor? Have you ever obtained more than one estimate to have work done on your home? Excuse me for assuming that you’ve answered a very loud and proud “YES,” to more than one of these questions, or all for that matter. Then why will policyholders (homeowners and business owners) allow the insurance company’s adjuster to out-right “TELL THEM,” what the damages of their insurance claim will cost without looking into themselves?

Many insurance company adjusters have attended classes to pass an insurance exam and have also attended classes to use insurance claim estimating programs. However, these same adjusters have never worked for a construction company, nor have they ever repaired or built a home, and many have never repaired any damages at their own home. If you end up with this type of adjuster to assess your insurance claim damages, chances are, they will likely miss items, materials, or construction procedures that are required to properly repair the damages.

Simply put, this is what you have been paying for all this time. To be protected when you have a claim. No one would require insurance advice from a professional to realize that this is YOUR money, it is YOUR insurance policy, it is YOUR property, which in turn makes it YOUR responsibility to protect yourself from mistakes or from being taken advantage of. Again, the insurance company adjuster could be 100% accurate with the final analysis and estimate numbers for your claim damages. Regardless of what you think may be true, YOU should be sure. Policyholders need to have an independent insurance appraiser or contractor provide them with a line item, detailed estimate that will ensure their adjuster was correct.

What Qualifies As A Line-Item, Detailed Insurance Claim Estimate?

Many contractors may use a square foot cost to replace a roof or siding on a home. However, insurance companies usually require an estimate that has been detailed by separating each line-item individually. By using the replacement of a damaged roof in our example; the insurance companies will require that each process and layer of the repairs be listed. They need to view each type of material being used to ensure the insured is not upgrading what they had. Surely the insured can upgrade, but, the insured pays for the difference between what they had and what they are upgrading to. That’s the reason they wish to see all items listed separately. Here’s an example of a detailed, line-item insurance repair estimate;

Insurance Advice - Line Item Est. Example

Although the numbers in the example are fictitious; it shows the basics of a Line Item, Detailed, Insurance Damage Estimate. Each of the line-items has been separated in complete detail. The estimate also breaks-down the descriptions, quantities, unit costs, and totals for each item as well. This type of detail is required and needed, so the insurance companies can compare and review each of the items unit costs with their adjusters numbers. Submitting the claim estimate in the format requested by your insurance company will result in a much faster settlement of the claim.

In events when their is an insurance dispute; by issuing¬†a more detailed estimate – provides a much smoother, less time consuming process. It’s much more¬†difficult for your insurance company to dispute an insurance claim estimate that is presented in the exact format that they have requested.

Watch out for yourself, protect and educate yourself, and always seek insurance advice by obtaining a second opinion. This should be the first thought on any and all insurance claim damages you happen to incur. If you fail to look out for yourself… Nobody Will?

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(C) Joe Brennan is President and owner/operator of Insurance Claims Group, Inc., a national independent adjusting, appraisal, and umpiring firm. We will answer your claim questions FREE as part of our FREE Insurance Advice and Insurance Claim Consulting Services.

Insurance Claims Group, Inc.
Joe Brennan
Ph: 919-669-9111
Fx: 919-573-9595
info@insuranceclaimsgroup.com

Insurance Claim Help and questions about Independent Appraiser Services is available by visiting Insurance Claims Group | Insurance Appraisal Services | Insurance Appraisal Process | Insurance Appraisal Umpire | Fire Insurance Claims


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