The need to protect your property, and family, has never been greater than in recent years. Natural disasters are on the rise and more powerful than ever before. The warnings of impending devastating weather patterns are broadcasted in every season. Are we really prepared?
When purchasing a home, you call the insurance carrier. You know the one that ensures your car. You speak with them about the multiple policy discounts and a few details about coverage and deductibles. He asks about any valuables. It’s that easy. Sign here and you’re covered.
It’s just like your auto coverage policy. There’s no need to read it. Besides, if anything happens, a claim adjuster will be sent from the insurance company, assess the damage and repair your home. The deductible is the only thing to worry about, right?
Claims Adjuster vs. Public Adjuster
An insurance claims adjuster is typically employed by the insurance company. There are some that are independent contractors but are still hired by the insurer. The claims adjuster will investigate all relevant information and assess your loss. They represent the insurer in the evaluation and adhere to the complicated policy language.
A public adjuster represents the insured. After the claims adjuster reports their findings, it is best to have someone on your side. A public adjuster can read your policy and understand the language within, to better negotiate on your behalf.
Most homeowners will contact an attorney to represent them. This is true, but it could become far more expensive to do so. You may be required to pay a retainer plus hourly rates for the attorney to fill out forms and submit a negotiation. There may even be court fees if a judge may need to be the deciphering voice.
For a small percentage of your settlement, a public adjuster can help to avoid all of this, in many cases. By understanding the initial language of the policy, he can determine whether the insurance company is being fair. Some large insurance companies rely on the fine print to limit their financial responsibility.
How to Become Better Prepared
Planning is always a good choice. The following are a few tips when purchasing a policy:
• Ask questions. If you don’t understand some of the language within the policy, ask the agent to explain. Especially the percentages of coverage, after the deductible.
• Negotiate a flat rate deductible. The insurer may be willing to offer this. If they do not, get a clear understanding of the sliding scale that can occur. Open a savings account and set money aside for this costly expense.
• Think about the possibilities. Make sure that any potential damage is included in your policy. Flood, sewage back up, mold, and some others are not standard to homeowners’ policies.
• Make a detailed inventory list of your valuables. Your home value may not be the same as your loan amount. You will want to know how much it will take to rebuild, not just repair. In an emergency, you may not be able to think of everything that was damaged.