Much is at stake when you file a home insurance claim. The more extensive the damage, the more important it is that you can navigate the challenges and pitfalls that may come up throughout the process.
Working with a public insurance lawyer can make the process more manageable and help you receive a fair settlement. They can also help you avoid some major mistakes that could put your whole claim in jeopardy.
#1 Working with the Insurance Adjuster
The insurance company will assign an adjuster when you file your claim. They review the loss and provide the insurer with an estimate. They may review the damage to your home themselves, or they may hire a builder to generate an estimate. They also review the loss of contents, which includes furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, etc.
Problems with the insurance adjuster can be an early warning sign. These are some of the issues that could arise:
- Delayed or difficult communication.
- The adjuster not bringing in a professional to evaluate structural damage.
- The adjuster undervaluing the loss in their estimates.
An insurance lawyer can help address these concerns early on.
#2 Hiring Your Own Contractor
The insurance company has a list of preferred contractors that they will accept bids from. They will then give the job of repairing your home to the contractor who provides the lowest bid.
Letting the insurance company handle hiring a contractor can make the process less stressful, but you may have a reason for wanting to hire your own contractor. You may have concerns about the quality of the work or want more control over how it is done.
The issue that arises with hiring your own contractor is that the insurer may prefer to give you a lump sum payment, leaving you on the hook for any unexpected delays or costs.
An alternative that an insurance lawyer may be able to negotiate is getting your contractor to work directly with the insurance company.
#3 Having Your Claim Denied
There are many reasons your claim could be denied wholly or partially. The insurer may determine that your home was not covered for the source of the damage. For example, flooding damage often requires a separate type of coverage. If part of your home was in disrepair at the time of the loss, they might deny the claim because the homeowner did not take steps to mitigate the chance of a loss.
The insurer may also deny your claim if they determine that you were not honest about the state of your home or the extent of your loss. Attempting to claim a loss in bad faith could lead to your whole claim being denied.
Working with an insurance lawyer can help you avoid mistakes that could lead to a denial of your claim. They also know how to handle complications such as hiring your own contractor or issues with the adjuster.
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