- Don't make any rash decisions about hiring someone to handle your claim. Be especially wary of individuals who go door-to-door soliciting business in the aftermath of a catastrophe. Most importantly, don't let anyone scare you into signing a contract. You don't want to be victimized by someone who comes into town, hoping to make a fast buck. You could end up forfeiting a significant portion of your insurance dollars.
- Before hiring a public adjuster or an attorney, try to settle your claim directly with your insurance company. Your insurer provides an adjuster at no charge to you. Ask your insurance agent or company representative to help you with your claim and don't be afraid to ask questions. If you decide to work directly with your insurer, you still have the right to hire a third-party professional to help you.
- If your claim is complicated and you want to hire a public adjuster or attorney, make sure that person is qualified to handle your case. Ask your friends, relatives or business associates for the names of well-regarded professionals in your community. Also, call your state insurance department regarding a public adjuster, and your state or county bar association about a prospective attorney.
- Understand that you will have to pay a public adjuster 15 percent and an attorney as much as 30 percent of your total claim settlement.
Public adjusters and attorneys
Don't be a victim of dishonest service providers
If your home was destroyed by a hurricane, wildfire or other disaster, be cautious.Unfortunately, there are dishonest service providers that prey on disaster victims. They know that people who have lost their homes and valuables may not be thinking clearly.
Here are some basic guidelines for hiring service providers.
Roofers and builders
If you have suffered this type of loss, don’t make any rash decisions. Talk to one of our insurance agents, who may recommend service providers in your area.
Be sure your roofer can answer questions about their location, insurance and more.
Before hiring a roofing company, there are certain questions you should ask. A poor job can mean costly roof repairs and leaks in the future, which means more time and money spent. Ask a roofer the following questions before making a hiring decision:
Be safe out there.
If you live in the projected path of Hurricane Michael, you should be prepping your home and finalizing your emergency and evacuation plans. The storm has grown to Category 3 – and there are concerns that it’ll be a Category 4 by landfall.
Here are some Dos and Don’ts to consider for prepping and riding out the storm.
Do you need flood insurance? Well, walk to the nearest mirror and ask the person you see if he or she owns much property that could be damaged or destroyed by water. If the answer is yes, then you should seriously consider buying flood insurance. Most persons who need the protection buy coverage offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If your community doesn't participate in the program, you'll have to look into coverage from private insurance companies.
Is A Flood Loss Likely?
The chances of your business, home or personal property being damaged by a flood depends primarily upon where you live. They also depend on other factors such as:
I Live In A Flood Zone?!
If you hear the term "flood zone," you may think that it refers to locations that are particularly vulnerable to flooding. Wherever you live in the USA, you live in a flood zone. While your area may have a lower chance of flooding than a coastal area or a location situated near a body of water, your area could still experience flooding. A very dry part of the country can be susceptible to flash floods; hilly locations may be harmed by drainage; snowy locations may suffer from heavy snow thaw; other areas may suffer deluges or flooding due to a heavy rain season which has soaked the surrounding soil. So, if you've insured yourself against fire, wind and other causes of loss, it certainly makes sense to also protect yourself from the potential of a flood loss.
Why Worry When Disaster Coverage Is Available?
Are you thinking that, after a flood, your loss may be handled by the government declaring a disaster area? However, you're still taking a couple of large risks. First, your flooded locale may not be deemed a disaster area. Second, being designated as a disaster area is not a bargain. Disaster area status only gives citizens access to government disaster loans. IF you qualify for assistance, you have replaced insurance protection with an obligation to pay off a large, long-term loan. Is it worthwhile to gamble on an opportunity to pick up more debt? You'll find flood insurance to be a cheaper and much more valuable alternative.
Don't Be "All Wet"
You don't have to leave yourself unprotected. Our agency can help you with detailed information on the National Flood Insurance Program. You can also ask for help in getting the coverage you need in the face of a flood.
A driver ran into me, admitted to his fault, and I have an eye witness, but now he is not returning his insurance company's calls. What can I do? Can I report a hit and run?
Mold, like rot and insect infestation, is a home maintenance issue and these are generally not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. However, in the event that mold growth is the direct result of a covered peril such as a burst pipe, the cost of eliminating the mold may be covered. If you have federal flood insurance, it may cover you for mold and/or mildew damage—but only if it is directly attributable to a flood. However, since it's unlikely you're covered for mold, it's even more important to keep your home mold-free—and in that effort, a strong offense is definitely your best defense.
To prevent mold, eliminate moisture to make your home inhospitable to its growth. Here are some DOs and DON'Ts for mold prevention.
Flooded cars are bad news.
So your car got flooded and two thoughts immediately flash in your head: how am I going to get to work and how am I going to pay for this mess?
I can’t help you with the first question, but the answer to the second is easy: insurance.
Comprehensive auto coverage: If you’re one of the 78 percent of Americans that opted to purchase comprehensive auto coverage, you’re in luck. Standard comprehensive coverage will pay for damages to your car caused by water or flood, subject to a deductible. It’ll even cover you if hail smashes your windows to pieces and rain ruins your leather seats.
If your car is so water-logged that it’s inoperable, then it might be a “total loss” – meaning that paying to fix it is greater than how much your car is worth. If it’s a total loss, your insurance will pay you the actual cash value for the car (that’s the purchase price minus any depreciation since you bought the car) and then salvage it.
Not everything is covered: But comprehensive coverage is not all sunshine and roses. It won’t cover you for any of your electronic equipment in the car that’s not permanently installed (think: your GPS navigation if for some reason you don’t use your smartphone for that – but your smartphone isn’t covered either). Comprehensive is also probably not going to help you out if you left your windows open during a rainstorm, so keep your eye on that weather forecast.
What if I don’t have comprehensive coverage? Unfortunately, if you didn’t opt in for extra coverage, you’re probably out of luck. Basic auto insurance doesn’t cover flood and water damage. Your homeowners and renters policies probably also won’t help: these policies don’t cover damage from floods. If you have a newer or higher-value vehicle, this lack of coverage could be a serious problem.
As FEMA puts it, “anywhere it can rain, it can flood.” The odds are good that you live in a place where your car can get damaged from water or floods. Speak to one of our insurance agents about whether comprehensive coverage is the right move for you and your vehicle.
Hey guys, I know you’re busy having fun watching football, but it’s time for us to have a talk about renters insurance. Why? Because the I.I.I. found that only 37 percent of renters have renters insurance. Which is bad, because renters insurance is important and good.
One of the most important things renters insurance covers is damage to your personal property. Your landlord’s insurance probably doesn’t cover any of your personal belongings if a covered loss happens to the apartment.
(Covered losses usually include fire, water damage from an overflowing sink, theft, vandalism, and a few other things. But be sure to talk to an agent and read your policy because different companies often vary in their wording.)
It’s important because you own things
We own a lot of stuff, because we’re human beings who need clothes and dishes and sometimes we even own a couch.
Think about clothing for a minute. Unless you live by Miami Beach and only need a bathing suit, you own more than one set of clothes. A few pairs of pants. Blouses. Underwear (presumably). Maybe you own a suit or nice dress for work. If you live up north, you probably also have an entire winter wardrobe.
Now imagine you lost all your clothes in a fire. It could cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to replace them. Because you own a lot of clothes.
Like life itself, renters insurance is about more than just the things you own
But let’s pretend for a minute you don’t actually own any stuff. Renters insurance also usually covers:
We’re all busy, but applying for renters insurance takes maybe 15 minutes, tops. That way, if your apartment building catches fire while you’re at work, you can rest (relatively) easy knowing that you’ll have help buying replacement stuff and having a place to stay while you find a new apartment.
Seriously, get renters insurance. Call our office today and see just how affordable peace of mind can be.
Did You Know?
Our articles are written by professionals in the insurance industry who's mission is to educate