From natural disasters to house fires, life is full of unexpected events.
That's why homeowners insurance is such an important thing for every homeowner to invest in.
But, using your homeowners insurance may not always be the easiest thing in the world.
So, in this guide, we will be teaching you everything you need to know about homeowners insurance and negotiating insurance claims.
To begin, let's go over what homeowners insurance is.
What Is Homeowners Insurance?
Homeowners insurance is a type of property insurance that covers a private residence.
It provides financial protection against things like:
- Natural disasters
- Property damages
- Temporary housing
…and much more.
One of the main benefits, however, of homeowners insurance is that it can provide peace of mind. Knowing that you are protected against unforeseen events can give you confidence in your home ownership and allow you to focus on enjoying your home and living your life.
So, we know what you must be thinking:
With so many benefits, it must cost a fortune!
Well, that's not necessarily true. In the next section, we will go over how homeowners insurance is prices.
How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost?
The cost of homeowners insurance varies depending on a number of factors, including:
- the location of the home
- age of the property
- condition of the property
- amount of coverage desired
..and sometimes more.
Not only do these factors determine how much you will have to pay for homeowners insurance, but they also help determine how much the insurance company will pay for a property insurance claim.
This is where the job of the insurance claims adjuster comes in.
If you don't know what that is, that's no problem. In the next section, we're going to discuss what an insurance claims adjuster is as well as how they impact your claim.
What Is An Insurance Claims Adjuster?
An insurance claims adjuster is a professional who is responsible for evaluating insurance claims and determining how much the insurance company should pay for a covered loss.
Insurance adjusters are typically employed by insurance companies, but they may also work for independent claims adjusting firms. Whether they come from the insurance company or an independent firm, their primary job is to assess the damage to a property and determine the cost of repairs or replacement.
This typically involves visiting the site of the loss, examining the damages, and consulting with experts or contractors to assess the cost of repairs. The insurance adjuster may also need to review police reports, medical records, and other relevant documentation to determine the extent of the damages.
What Does The Insurance Adjuster Consider?
When assessing a claim, an insurance claims adjuster will consider a variety of factors, including:
- the policyholder's coverage
- the type and cause of the loss
- the value of the damaged property
- any applicable deductibles or exclusions
Based on this information, the adjuster will determine the amount of the claim and make a recommendation to the insurance company.
This recommendation is essentially the amount of money that the insurance company will pay for the damages. These numbers can be much lower than a homeowner expects, so its important to know how to negotiate more money out of your insurance company.
Below, we'll be outlining some of our top tips for negotiating with your insurance claims adjuster to get more money from your claim.
How To Negotiate With Your Insurance Claims Adjuster
If you are involved in an insurance claim, it is important to understand that the adjuster's primary goal is to help the insurance company pay as little as possible for the home insurance claims.
This means that they may not always be on your side. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting a fair settlement.
1. Understand Your Insurance Policy
First, make sure you understand your insurance policy and what is covered. This will help you identify any potential gaps in your coverage and give you a better idea of what to expect from the home insurance claim process.
2. Document Everything Thoroughly & Honestly
Next, document the damages as thoroughly as possible.
Take pictures and videos of the damage, and keep detailed records of any repairs or replacement costs. This will help you back up your claim and support your argument for a higher settlement.
It's very important to document everything honestly since, if the insurance company proves insurance fraud, you'll probably get nothing. Insurance companies lose billions to fraudulent claims every year, so be very careful and honest as they will be looking out for it.
3. Have A Good Attitude
When negotiating with the adjuster, be prepared to advocate for yourself.
Be polite and professional, but don't be afraid to push back if you think the settlement offer is too low. Provide evidence to support your position, and be willing to compromise to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
4. Avoid Saying Certain Things
Finally, avoid saying certain things to the insurance claims adjuster.
Don't admit fault for the loss or make any statements that could be used against you. Don't sign any documents without fully understanding the implications, and don't be afraid to seek legal advice if necessary.
Now, even after following all of these steps and going through with all of the negotiations, they still might fail.
So, in the next section, we're going to briefly discuss what should be done if negotiations fail and the insurance company is acting on bad faith.
What If Negotiations Fail?
If negotiations with a property insurance claims adjuster fail, it may be necessary to take further action to resolve the dispute.
There are a few different options to consider, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
Meditation Or Arbitration
One possible next step is to seek mediation or arbitration. In mediation, a neutral third party mediator helps the policyholder and the insurance company to reach an agreement.
In arbitration, a neutral third party arbitrator makes a binding decision on the dispute. Both of these options can be less time-consuming and expensive than going to court.
Another option is to file a lawsuit. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the insurance company, you may have the right to file a civil lawsuit.
This involves bringing your case before a judge or jury, who will decide the outcome of the dispute. This can be a lengthy and costly process, and it is generally a last resort.
In some cases, policyholders may also have the option to file a complaint with the state insurance department.
This can be an effective way to raise concerns about the claims process and seek resolution. The insurance department may be able to provide assistance or refer the case to mediation or arbitration.
In conclusion, negotiating with an insurance claims adjuster can be a daunting task. However, by following the guidelines discussed in this article, you may be able to make your own life much easier.
You may also be able to get more money out of your insurance company, which everybody loves!