A storm can cause a great deal of damage to your property, particularly your roof and other exterior components of your home. You might have to face extensive repairs or even a complete roof replacement. Storms, other natural disasters and accidents are the reason you pay a considerable amount of money to your insurance company.
The Insurance Adjuster
When you need to file a claim with your insurer, you have to deal with the company’s representative called an insurance adjuster. Your insurance company’s adjusters’ job is to make a thorough evaluation of your claim so the person can decide on how much money you should receive from the insurance company.
While most insurance adjusters are friendly, it’s important to remember that they are still employees or independent contractors who work for your insurer. And, if insurance companies had to choose between paying more or paying less, they would choose the latter, and their insurance adjusters are there to protect the company in terms of finances. So, it’s not uncommon for an insurance adjuster to want the company to pay the smallest amount it can legally pay to an insured homeowner. This means it’s not uncommon, either, for a homeowner to disagree with the adjuster’s estimate.
This is why you should know how to communicate with an insurance adjuster for your roof replacement and any other job involving your home after a disaster.
Don’t Be Intimidated
If you’re dealing with insurance claims for the first time, you might be intimidated by the adjusters. They’ll likely offer the lowest amount they can to cover your losses. This is because they already expect you to hire a licensed public adjuster, who is an adjuster that doesn’t work for your insurance company and one you expect to give you a fairer estimate of how much you deserve in your payout.
A low offer is only good news for your insurance company because it will save money, so the adjuster is likely to be a little pushy about it. However, if you know what to expect from your insurer, particularly if you’ve asked for an estimate from your roofing contractor, you will have a better chance of negotiating successfully with the adjuster. Here’s what you can expect:
Your Insurer Should Not Act in Bad Faith
You enter into a contract with your insurance company that states it’s supposed to cover certain kinds of damage to your property. Insurance companies are expected to act in good faith, which means they should not stall, refuse to cover damage that’s part of the contract or fail to investigate your claim.
Your insurer knows that if you have enough reason to believe that the company is acting in bad faith, it will be liable for lawsuits. This is why you should be diligent in getting your own proof, such as your own list, videos and photos, and estimates from stores or your roofing contractor. Your insurer would much rather settle your claim properly than be involved in a more expensive lawsuit, which can cost them more than money.
You’re the Expert When It Comes to Your Home
You know your home, and you know what you’re supposed to include in your insurance claim. You don’t have to worry about any other home but your own, unlike adjusters who have to deal with several claims all at one time. Keep this in mind when you negotiate so you don’t get intimidated.
But what happens if the negotiations still fail?
Make a Decision
Not all insurance adjusters or insurers will act in bad faith. While they might try to save money by giving you a low first offer, most of them are willing to play the negotiation game, especially if you’ve done your due diligence like documenting the damage and getting an estimate from a licensed roofer. It’s good news if your insurance company is known for being fair, at the very least.
But if you happen to have the misfortune of getting insured by one who’s known for stalling or refusing to pay a fair amount, your negotiation with them might fail. This is not a reason to simply accept what the company wants to give you just so you can put an end to the issue. You have an important decision to make.
Get an estimate from a public adjuster, and present it to your insurance company. If that still fails, your sensible next step is to go legal. Call your attorney, and discuss the matter. Your lawuer will iron out the details with you and then get in touch with your insurance company. You and your lawyer will talk about the next move. In most cases, the insurer will settle to avoid losing more money than they’re supposed to give you in the first place.
More Useful Tips
If you’re anxious about discussing items with your insurance adjuster, ask a friend, a public adjuster or your lawyer to sit with you during the meeting. You might feel upset because your home was damaged by a storm, but it’s important to keep your wits about you and not settle until you’re fully satisfied with the offer from your adjuster.
You can refuse to give a recorded statement. Adjusters are trained to look for holes in whatever you say or do, and the last thing you want is for them to have that on record and use it out of context. If you think they’re offering an amount that’s too low, you can – and should – ask them to justify the amount, but that doesn’t mean you have to agree with them even if they seem to be making a good argument. Remember, they’re trained for this.
Cooperate with your insurance adjusters. After all, they represent the insurance company with which you have a contract, so it’s your obligation to cooperate. But again, cooperating and behaving properly doesn’t have to mean agreeing with their offer unless you believe it’s right and fair.
When you and your adjuster agree on a settlement, don’t let them go until you get it in writing. This is to protect you in case the adjuster reneges on what you’ve agreed on and gives you a lower payout.
To get an estimate for your storm-damaged roof, get in touch with Home Remedy USA. We are your trusted, licensed and certified roofer. Call us today at (800) 273-6080, or use the form here to tell us about your project.