4 Reasons Not To Accept Your First Insurance Settlement Offer
Purchasing insurance coverage is our way of planning for the unforeseen, but when disaster strikes, it’s always a stressful time. If your property is damaged, your claim settlement provides the financial means to return to normalcy. You need those funds to repair any damage, cover the cost of additional expenses, and replace any ruined belongings. You want to get back to normal as soon as possible, but we recommend you avoid the temptation to accept the first offer from your insurance provider’s adjuster. Your independent public adjuster in Florida, Craig Harrell, explains why in this article.
Reason #1: Hidden damages
That initial settlement is based on known damage at the time. In many instances of property damage, the entire scope of damage still may not have been discovered. Examples of unknown damage include mold and mildew from water damage or water used to put out a fire; or problems on the inside of walls that are impossible to detect until repairs begin. If you accept that initial settlement offer and then discover more damage after the fact, you’ll have to shoulder any financial cost to make those repairs on your own.
Reason #2: Inadequate coverage
Your insurance company is a for-profit business. When a provider has to pay out on a claim, that represents an expense that reduces their profits. Therefore, it’s in the interests of your provider, as a business, to limit the amount paid on claims whenever possible. When you file a claim, your insurer comes out and makes an appraisal of the estimated cost of repairs. Your contractor makes their own estimate. If those two figures disagree, the insurer is likely to side with their adjuster and provide an offer they deem “fair.” They also may recommend other contractors who will complete the work for their recommended settlement.
Reason #3: Insurance coverage gaps
Your insurance policy is a complicated document. Any policy is going to have certain conditions and provisions that must be met, as well as exceptions or exclusions. Your insurer’s adjuster is an expert in the field who, with a thorough review of the policy, likely will find coverage issues. Any identified issues may lead to a Reservation of Rights document being issued to you, which will be used to either lower your settlement or even deny your claim.
Reason #4: Human error
Remember, any settlement amount is based on the appraisal of your insurance company’s adjuster. That adjuster is an experienced insurance professional, but is also human, and humans make mistakes. Adjusters also make their appraisal based on their opinion. That means they can be open to negotiation.
Hire a public adjuster, like Harrell Adjusting Services before settling your claim
Maybe you’re 100% confident that your settlement is a fair amount to cover your property loss. Still, if your property is damaged and you file a claim, we recommend hiring a public adjuster. These adjusters have the same expertise as the professionals who make appraisals for insurance companies; however, a public adjuster is there to represent you, not an insurance provider.
Here are a few reasons to consider hiring a public adjuster, like Harrell Adjusting Services:
A public adjuster also knows how to read through the complicated language used in policy and understands aspects of repair and replacement costs that you may not realize.
A public adjuster factors in aspects of cost that you may not realize. For example, in the event of serious wind damage to your roof, the settlement should cover the cost of a new roof as well as the labor to remove the damaged roof.
A public adjuster will help you submit a claim that is fully accurate and has the details your insurer will require. Any insurance company is never going to pay more than an amount claimed; that’s why it’s so valuable for a public adjuster to provide insight prior to the claim, to ensure you’re asking for the correct amount.
If your settlement is too low and your insurer refuses to budge, hiring a public adjuster is a cheaper alternative to hiring an attorney to dispute the claim. Your public adjuster can help you reopen the claim, file an appeal, or even file a supplemental claim for additional payments if needed. Insurance companies actually will push a claim toward litigation, as this makes many policy holders opt to settle because the cost of attorney fees and filing a suit can be too overwhelming.
Harrell Adjusting Services – Your Public Adjuster Services in Central Florida
Craig Harrell and his team at Harrell Adjusting Services have years of expertise in the insurance world and puts it to work for you. Harrell Adjusting Services is based in Central Florida, but willing to work with policy holders just like you, throughout the state of Florida. To find out more about Harrell Adjusting Services, schedule an appointment today by calling (863) 559-3405 or inquire online.