When natural disasters hit, the only thing that matters is the immediate safety of you and your family. The weeks following a devastating weather catastrophe can be chaotic and confusing. Insurance is there to help you rebuild and get back on your feet, but that doesn’t mean they are always doing their best to help you recover. Here are some things to look out for when filing your claim.
Your property will be inspected by an insurance adjuster after you file a claim. The primary responsibility of the insurance adjuster is to assess damages to the property and estimate the total cost of repair. Insurance companies will use these reports when finalizing your claim. Some adjusters work directly for the insurance company, and others are third-party contractors that charge a fee. Unfortunately, there are also those who want to take advantage of the situation and are trying to scam you, so make sure to check the credentials and work-history of anyone who offers their services to you in the aftermath of the storm. Only work with accredited insurance adjusters who you can trust to look out for you and your claim.
Malicious intent is the last thing most people suspect from others after a disaster, but it happens. As estimates of damage from Hurricane Harvey reach $30 billion, insurance companies are trying to pay as little as possible. One of the oldest tricks in the business is to argue that the damage to your property was present before the storm. Caught off-guard, individuals are left feeling frustrated and defeated as it’s “my word versus theirs.” Policyholders need to be aware of this risk, and that it may take legal action to correct. The best way to protect yourself is to make sure you are getting a fair report from a reliable professional.
If you have any reason to doubt the accuracy of an insurance adjuster’s report, get a second opinion. One great option is a local contractor who can give you an independent estimate of the cost of repairs. These licensed professionals don’t have ties to your insurance company and stay employed by providing honest assessments. However, be wary of outsiders moving into disaster zones, looking to make some fast cash. Take the time to do a little research on a third-party contractor you can trust, and get a quote in writing that you can share with your insurance company. During the entire recovery process, take several photos and videos of all the damage to your property. Documenting the damage will help you defend against unethical insurance practices.
Insurance companies thrive on complicated policies that work to intimidate policyholders, and sometimes they get away with it. Don’t let these fraudsters push you around. If you have any doubts about the fairness of your claim, contact us immediately. We are experts at defending individuals exploited by corporate greed, and we want to help you.
As members of the community whose family and friends are also suffering, our hearts reach out to all of those affected by Hurricane Harvey. There is no excuse for delaying your recovery because of a dispute with a dishonest insurance company. Williams Hart is dedicated to preserving justice and will fight on your behalf to get what you are owed. Call us at [telephone number], send us an email, or chat with us on our website. Get the help you deserve.