When filing a property insurance claim it is paramount that the insured party hires independent representation. If the insured party is not independently represented by a private claims-adjustment professional it is unlikely that the full deserved funds will be recovered.
The Main Components to an Insurance Claim
When handling property-loss claims there are four main components to be considered; (1) The ability to navigate through the complexities of an insurance policy, (2) Building expertise, (3) The use of bidding software, and (4) Claim process familiarity. In this article I will briefly overview the main aspects of these four components and how they can affect the outcome of a claim.
Insurance policies are extremely complex [by design]; understanding coverage can be a difficult task for the common home owner or contractor. Certain policies have unique aspects which can drastically change coverage. When the value of loss is substantial, to ensure that the value of the loss is recovered in its’ entirety, the insurance policy should be reviewed by an independent attorney who specializes in insurance law.
A comprehensive understanding of building practice is paramount. It is common for a homeowner to feel that their understanding of building process is sufficient, and/or that the insurance adjuster is thorough/fair, however it is very rare for either to be true. What is typically lacking from the common homeowners knowledge of building is the many “sub tasks” required to complete one “main task”. For example, when painting a room not only are the walls painted but it is also important that surfaces are prepared properly, personal contents are removed from the room and protected, and that the budget accounts for painting doors, trim, and jambs. “Sub tasks” are commonly overlooked by adjusters which may result in sufficient funds going unrecovered.
The use of bidding software has become a universal practice for all insurance providers and claims adjusters. Most insurance providers use a software called Xactimate, which allows quick access to area specific pricing for almost anything that would be required in a residential (and commercial) construction project. From personal protective equipment, to drying equipment, to framing an entire home, Xactimate has a price for everything. An expert understanding of bidding software, primarily Xactimate, is absolutely vital in recovering all deserved funds.
Familiarity with the claims process will allow for realistic expectations as it relates to recovery and time frame. Additionally, one must be willing to appropriately push the envelope by maintaining a firm position against insurance representatives when necessary.
When a substantial property loss has occurred, property owners should immediately hire private representation. The insured commonly feel like they are in good hands with insurance providers; the truth is, even independent insurance agents have an incentive to pay out the lowest amount possible on every claim.
Do yourself a favor, hire a private adjuster!
Written By: Max Weberman