Understanding the Property Damage Claim & Settlement Process
At The Morgan Law Group P.A., our Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, and Puerto Rico insurance claims attorneys know that when your home, condo, or business suffers hurricane, flood, or fire damage, it is difficult to know what to expect from the insurance company.
That is especially true if you have never filed an insurance claim before. Unfortunately, most people believe their insurance coverage is going to make them whole again. What they receive, on the other hand, is often resistance from their provider.
Although certain steps are necessary to pursue a successful insurance claim, insurance companies are always looking for ways to delay, undervalue, or deny your claim.
Understanding the insurance claim process will allow you to proactively explore your options, so you are getting the most from your claim.
Here is what you need to know.
Filing a Home, Condo, or Business Insurance Claim
If your home, condo, or business has suffered damage during a storm, fire, or another incident, be sure it is safe to return to the structure before entering.
When it is, make a list of the damages, including any personal property, and contact your insurance company. This is the first step in getting an adjuster to assess your damages.
Once he or she arrives, they will survey the damage and any supporting documentation to provide a valuation. This assessment is the bottom line of what they are willing to cover and may include a financial outline to make temporary repairs, permanent repairs, and replace damaged belongings.
Your Mortgage Lender May Be Listed as a Co-Policy Holder
If you have a mortgage on your home or property, a condition of granting a mortgage may be that the lender requires it is named in the homeowner’s policy and party to any insurance payments related to the structure.
Contractors May Ask to Be Paid Directly By the Insurance Company
When it is time to handle the property’s repair or replacement work, some contractors require a “direction to pay” document that requires the insurance company to pay them directly for the work provided.
This form is a legal document, so you should read it carefully to avoid assigning your entire claim amount to the contractor.
Assigning your entire insurance claim to a third party removes you from the process and gives total control of your claim to the contractor.
Your Personal Belongings Will Be Calculated Separately
If you have property damage — like the roof, gutters, chimney, or windows that needs repaired or replaced — it will be valued separately from your personal belongings, like furniture, electronics, or clothing.
What is more, your personal belongings will be assessed based on their cash value first, which is the depreciated amount based on the age of the item.
To get the replacement value for your items, you must actually replace them before the insurance company will reimburse you for their full cost.
The insurance company will require copies of receipts as proof of purchase, then pay the difference between the cash value you initially received and the full cost of the replacement with an item of similar size and quality.
Insurance claims are easier to make when you have a home inventory ready, so you can provide all supporting documentation at the time of your claim.
What If My Home, Condo, or Business is Damaged Beyond Repair?
In the case of a total loss, where the entire house and its contents are damaged beyond repair, insurers generally pay the policy limits, according to the laws in your state or territory.
That means you can receive a check for what the home and contents were insured for at the time of the disaster.
What If I Do Not Agree with the Insurance Company’s Assessment?
Contact our experienced insurance claims attorneys in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, or Puerto Rico by calling 888-904-2524 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help assess your damages using an unbiased public adjuster to pursue the outcome you deserve from your insurance policy without further delay.