How To Negotiate With Your Home Insurance Companys Adjuster
You shouldnt be intimidated when negotiating with your home insurance companys adjuster. Many insurance companies hand out a low initial offer because they expect the insured policyholder to negotiate or hire a public adjuster. They might give you a low initial offer assuming youre going to reject it.
Delivering a low initial offer is a win-win situation for an insurance company. If you reject it, then they may have another, more reasonable offer lined up. If you accept it, then the insurance company avoids a drawn-out negotiation process, while saving money.
There are two important things to remember when negotiating with your insurance companys home insurance adjuster:
Your Insurance Company is Legally Obliged to Act in Good Faith When you buy a home insurance policy from your insurance company, youre entering into a mutual contract. That contract states that your insurance company must cover certain types of damages. If an insurance company is refusing to cover certain damages that should be covered, intentionally stalling, or failing to thoroughly investigate your claim, then the company may be acting in bad faith. Insurance companies that act in bad faith are liable for lawsuits. Lawsuits can be very expensive for insurance companies, and theyll typically do whatever they can do to avoid a lawsuit.
You Have the Upper Hand
Helpful Tips To Deal With An Insurance Claims Adjuster
You will utilize a range of methods to reduce your ultimate settlement. Yes, the claim adjuster is probably very nice, but they are also competent negotiators when adjusting insurance claims. Below are the tips that you need to keep in mind when talking to them. Here are the ways on how to deal with an insurance claims adjuster:
The Different Types Of Adjusters
The claims adjuster may work for the insurance company or be an independent adjuster or third-party administrator adjuster . The latter two types of adjusters are simply names for outsourced adjusters. Outsourced adjusters are normally used on smaller claims and will only have limited authority . You can usually spot an outsourced adjuster by their letterhead or email address being different from the insurance companys. If you think you are dealing with a TPA, ask the adjuster if he/she works for the insurance company or are they a TPA. While it doesnt make any difference to your claim, with the exception being a TPA may need to get more authority to handle your claim, it will show the adjuster that you are knowledgeable of the system.
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How Can A Public Insurance Adjuster Help Property Owners
The claims adjuster that represents the insurance company and YOU at the same time creates a Conflict of Interest.
Eliminate this by allowing Abba Claims Public Adjusters to represent you. We serve policyholders in many capacities.
The Professional Services area outlines the many ways that we are available to assist in the insurance claims resolution process.
Get In Touch With Your Mortgage Lender
Your mortgage lender will likely be part of the settlement process if you don’t own your home in full. Ask your lender how they handle insurance claims. Often, they’ll hold the insurance settlement in escrow. They’ll release it in installments to ensure that the homeowner is actually using the money to repair the home.
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Consider Getting Outside Help
If you’re not satisfied with the claim result, a public adjuster can help you negotiate a better settlement and act as an advisor to you. However, public adjusters don’t have legal power.
If you want to sue your insurer, hiring a lawyer is your best option. Lawyers can get involved if your insurer intends to drag out your settlement or deny you your fair share.
Keep in mind that you’ll end up having to share your settlement with a third party.
The Response To Your Demand Letter: The Fourth Step In The Negotiation Process
Once the insurance company receives your demand letter, the claims adjuster will probably respond with a letter of their own. In most cases, it is a rejection letter that disputes the value of your claim. Often, they make a counteroffer that is much lower than the real value of your claim.
The insurance adjuster knows that your injuries are costing you lost wages. They also know that your medical bills are adding to your financial burden. They use your lack of knowledge about the law and your financial desperation to get you to accept a much lower offer. This is just one of the tactics insurance companies use to pay less. Remember, the claims adjuster works for the insurance company. Its their job to save the insurance company as much money as possible.
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Document And Take Photos Of The Damage
Your first step after calling your insurer should be to begin documenting the damage. Take clear, well-lit photos from as many angles as possible. Use a ruler or a dollar bill to give a sense of scale to close-up pictures like hail damage, and use wide shots to give an idea of where the damage is located relative to other rooms. Using video can also help rule out any ambiguity regarding the accuracy of your photos. You should also take notes of the date and any damaged items.
What Is An Insurance Claims Adjuster
But accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and thats the main reason we have insurance. Before you know it, you could be filling the biggest insurance claim of your life and wondering what to expect from a home insurance adjuster.
If youve never dealt with a major loss before, you might be unfamiliar with the role of the claims adjuster in the overall process. Lets take a closer look at what a claims adjuster is and what they do.
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Make An Inventory List
If your personal property gets damaged, you’ll most likely need proof of your loss to get reimbursed. A home inventory list can help you remember all the items in your home if your home gets damaged. When creating a list of your belongings, you’ll need details like the value of the item, which can help your settlement offer from being lowballed. When it’s time to start your home inventory, we recommend including the following information for all of your belongings:
- The make, model and serial number.
- Receipt .
Q: My Adjuster Seems Friendly Can I Trust Him/her
Trust but verify. Insurance companies are profit-making businesses, and their employees are not social workers. Your adjuster may be friendly, but he or she is not your friend. Remember: settling a large insurance claim is a business negotiation. The more you understand the process, the better youll do. Insurance companies naturally try to limit their payouts. There is a lot of confusing wording and legalese in insurance contracts that helps them do that, but there are laws to protect you and keep the claim process fair. Visit our website, use our library, and use our Ask an Expert forum. All our information is free to disaster survivors.
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Use Your Preferred Contractor For A Repair Estimate
During a repair estimate, you can use your preferred contractor. A dependable contractor will be able to make an accurate estimate.
If you wait for the claims adjuster, they may assess your repair costs based on lowball bids. The adjuster could also miss some of the damage or underestimate the extent of necessary repairs.
How An Auto Insurance Claims Adjuster Settles Claims
Its in everyones best interest to settle a car accident claim as effortlessly as possible. An auto insurance claims adjuster is tasked with settling claims relatively quickly to keep up with the workload that can range from 50 to 100 claims a month. You may start by filing the claim online or by phone. When calling an insurance company by phone, make sure to ask for the following information:
Name of your auto insurance claims adjuster
Office contact information
Expected turnaround time to settle the claim
When you notify the car insurance company or your car insurance agent of your car accident, you may be redirected to an auto insurance claims adjuster. They are the person that youll be primarily interacting with. Smaller claims can be handled over the phone, but more serious and complex cases will require face-to-face interaction with an auto insurance claims adjuster. Heres a run-down of a typical car accident claim process:
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Q: My Insurance Company Keeps Reducing What Theyre Going To Pay By Depreciating Items In My Claim What Can I Do
Depreciation is frustrating and confusing to most people. Its subjectivenot a science. Each adjuster makes his or her own decisions on how much and which items they depreciate. That means its up to you to argue for more reasonable numbers. Many adjusters will try and apply a set depreciation across the board to every item. Thats not fair. The condition of an item, its age and its useful life are all factors to consider. Not everything in your home is subject to depreciation. For example, paint, vinyl and roofing are exposed to the elements, so of course they deteriorate and are subject to depreciation. The underlying materials that held your home togetherstuds, cement, rebar, and framingare not. Studs can last 200 years, so dont allow your adjuster/insurer to depreciate those items.
Adjusters and insurers rarely volunteer to tell you that if you submit receipts for items you replace, they must pay you the difference between what they paid you for the items Actual Cash Value and what it actually cost you . For more information, read United Policyholders Depreciation Basics.
If You Don’t Collect We Don’t Get Paid
How to deal with an insurance adjuster after a house fire
Dealing with a disaster in your home is overwhelming. When your home suffers fire damage or smoke damage, you may be stuck wondering how you should proceed, with a million questions running through your head. Handling the catastrophe, and the insurance company, is a process, and there are certain steps to take to make things run smoothly.
When you file a claim with your insurance company after a house fire, an insurance adjuster should come to your property, or at the site of the loss. Next, he will conduct a thorough inspection of your property. It is the adjuster’s job to assess the damage and provide a realistic estimate of the costs of repairing or rebuilding your property.
The first step is to review your policy. Make sure you fully understand what is and what is not covered. If fire damage is covered, check to see if you are covered for personal expenses and living expenses. This will determine what your insurance company will pay for.
Another job of the insurance adjuster is to identify if any of the losses can be mitigated. This means the insurance company will take action to avoid or reduce the damages. In other words, to keep your losses to a minimum. Although the adjusters are on your side, they also have the responsibility to adjust the claim, which could result in you getting less money.
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Prepare For The Adjuster
The insurance company will assign an adjuster, who will assess the damage and submit an estimate for review. Since the beginning of the pandemic, adjusters have increasingly been doing their work remotelycommunicating through smartphone tools like FaceTime, Google Duo, and Skypeand accepting videos and photos directly from policyholders phones.
During the appointment, the adjuster may ask you to walk from room to room taking video with your phone, describing the damage and showing it in context and scale by zooming in and out.
But if youre not comfortable dealing virtuallyor the damage appears to be considerable and severeyou can ask the insurer to have an adjuster come to your home.
If thats the case, ask the insurance company for the adjusters name before your appointment, then ask for identification before letting the person into your home.
Regardless of whether your adjusters visit is conducted virtually or in person, it helps to make a list of items that were destroyed or are in need of repair. Include the amount you paid for them and gather any receipts you can find.
You can report more damage you discover after the adjusters appointment. Depending on the policy, a claim can stay openand you can receive additional compensationfor many months after the initial report.
What To Do After An Insurance Adjuster Visits Your Property
When the adjuster’s visit is over, you’ll be required to submit any information related to your claim within a time limit defined by your policy. You might have to send in:
- A statement describing the loss
- An inventory of lost or damaged personal property
- Specifications for damaged structures
- Receipts for additional living expenses if you can’t live in your home
Dealing with the insurance adjuster can be easier if you have an itemized inventory, keep a log of your meetings with the adjuster and understand your policy limits. And while it’s important to remain honest about your claim, you should avoid suggesting you’re to blame.
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Preparing For The Insurance Adjuster’s Visit
When you experience property damage from any peril that’s covered by your home insurance, here are the steps you might expect to take:
- They can answer questions and may ask you to gather information about your home before the adjuster arrives.
- File a report. Depending on what happened to your home, you may also need to file a report with your local fire department or sheriff’s office. Request copies of the reports to give to your insurance company. These documents provide a complete account of your loss and support your insurance claim.
- Meet the insurance adjuster. An insurance adjuster will come to your property to collect information about the extent of your loss. The adjuster’s findings determine the compensation you’ll receive. You don’t need to be present during this investigation, but it could be a good idea to attend to make sure the adjuster doesn’t miss any damaged areas of your home.
Dealing With An Insurance Adjuster: What Not To Say
After the shock of a car wreck, it can be hard to know exactly what happened.
Naturally, gathering evidence isnt at the top of your priorities you just want to make sure everyone is safe.
But just a couple days after a car accident, youll get a call from an insurance claims adjuster.
You need to be very careful what you say youd be surprised what the insurance company can hold against you.
Knowing what to expect when the other partys insurance adjuster calls is the best way to prepare.
Dont forget that you have every right to a car wreck lawyer, and read on below for some tips.
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Home Insurance Claim Mistake No : Filing Too Many Claims
Insurers will take a look at your claims history when setting your rates. Homeowners and auto insurance claims submitted in the past seven years can be found by insurers in whats called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange database. The more home insurance claims in your history, the more expensive your home insurance premiums will likely be.
Thats because insurers correlate claims to a higher risk of filing more claims in the future. Risky customers get higher premiums. So, if you can, it may be better in the long run pay for small repairs yourself rather than filing an insurance claim.
Negotiating The Adjuster/claimant Relationship
You need to understand that in the claimant/adjuster relationship, the adjuster has the power. He/she controls the money and is not harmed if the claim does not settle and goes into litigation. This means they also have the patience to see how desperate you are for a quick settlement and to find out if you know what you are doing.
Adjusters are also overworked. Insurance companies view your claim and the adjusters who handle your claim as an expense. Claims do not make the insurance company money. They lose money. Management is constantly cutting the number of adjusters and increasing each adjusters case load to cut bottom line costs. It is not uncommon for car accident claims adjusters to have over 300 open claims at one time. Just think how hard it is for an adjuster to keep the names and facts straight for this many claims. Adjusters can receive upwards of 50 phone calls a day and make an additional 50 more.
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How To Deal With A Home Insurance Adjuster
One thing to keep in mind with regards to insurance adjusters is that they work on behalf of the insurance company, not you. The adjusterâs job is often to calculate the lowest possible settlement amount for their employer, so the claim check you get back could be lower than you initially anticipated. But with that in mind, a claims adjuster should act professionally and in good faith.
Even though they work on behalf of the insurance company and not you, a claims adjuster is there to reach a settlement. If you feel you were low-balled on a compensation amount, itâs your right as the policyholder to dispute the settlement.
Some insurance companies handle the claims process better than others, which is why itâs so important to take claim satisfaction ratings into consideration when deciding on an insurance company. You can read our list of best homeowners insurance companies here.
Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when filing a claim and working with an adjuster.