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If you were to ask three of your closest friends what your car is worth, they would probably come up with a lower number than you might think. If you ask an insurance company what your car insurance is worth, you may very well be insulted at their answer.
Once your property loss is assessed and your claim is approved, it's not uncommon to be shocked by the lack of zeros on your insurance check. Here is a quick rundown of some of the most important tips to remember when trying to get the most out of any insurance claim.

1. Review the Adjuster’s Report

An adjuster’s report is a written statement which includes an assessment of the damage that needs to be repaired, items to be replaced and their estimate of the costs for each. It is important to obtain a copy of this report and review it carefully for any discrepancies.

The adjuster is most likely going to use a computer program to prepare costs based on averages, so it’s important to have your own evidence for materials or property that have an above-average price tag. Also look for things such as missing items, partial or incomplete measurements and low-balled contractors costs. Do not accept or deposit any checks until you have carefully reviewed the adjuster's report and agree with all items and costs.
 
2. Smart Complaints

Insurance companies receive hundreds or even thousands of phone calls a day and many of those are complaints. It is importantly to understand how to complain in order to get what you want.

First, make all complaints in writing: Be complete but concise, be professional and polite. The insurance company is not going to read a 10 page letter, but they will read a short statement which describes the specific issue, a specific request, and expectation.

Copy the complaint to a supervisor or manager one level up from your representative. Always follow up with the company in a few days or at the end of the week to see that they have reviewed your letter.

3. Understand Your Coverage

For many consumers, they end up being underpaid on claims because they do not understand their coverage. Keep past statements, and annual reviews on hand so you can refer to them if necessary. If you do not have a copy of your policy, request that your representative send you a full copy of your coverage and review it before accepting anything.

4. Keep the Emotion Out

When you are faced with a catastrophe whether it be a flooded basement, a rollover accident, or a fire which destroyed everything, most individuals are emotional, upset, and are ready to cut their losses and move on. Insurance companies know this, so it is important to pursue your claim and get what you deserve.

5. Document Everything

It is important to take pictures, video, and document information both before and after a catastrophe. Being able to provide both sides of the story can help insurers to understand the extent of the damage.

The best thing for you to do is to take pictures or video of your home, get everything from the ceiling to the floor, and update this coverage annually to account for normal wear and tear. Then take the same video after the damage is done.

6. Hire an Independent Adjuster

Another option is to hire your own adjuster, who will act independently of one provided by the insurance company, and give you a fair assessment of your damage. It is hard for an insurance company to deny the report of a hired professional.

7. Make Temporary Repairs
 
There’s no reason to live with a leaky roof while you’re waiting for the insurance company to make a move. In fact, if you fail to make temporary repairs, and the damage gets worse, the insurance company may actually deny you coverage based on your neglect. Save all receipts and documentation, as the insurer will likely reimburse most of these expenses.

If all else fails, you can hire an attorney who will fight your fight for you. Many attorneys and public adjusters work on a contingency basis and you will sign over a percentage of your payment to them, however, this may still get you more money than you could get on your own. In addition, many states also allow the cost of such expertise to be reimbursed by an insurance company if an initial claim is found to have been inadequate, so you have little to lose by hiring representation.

By Matt Reynolds - Google+
Posted 7:53 AM  View Comments

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Claude Reynolds Insurance Agency Inc.
6801 Dixie Hwy Suite 232
Louisville, KY 40258
Phone: 502-933-2255
Fax: 502-933-5057
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