Monthly Archives: December 2017

How to File an Insurance Claim – Early Bird Gets the Worm

Most homeowners want to know how to file an insurance claim successfully. Filing an Insurance Claim with minimum hassle is the goal of most property owners. Well to that end, it is important for everyone to be sure they cooperate with authorities (Police, Fire, Emergency Services, etc) and follow all policies and directions provided. During emergency situations, your main goal has to be the safety of you and your family, but this does not mean procrastinating on your Insurance Claim. You have to get your Insurance Claim Submitted as quickly as possible.

Emergency situations like tornadoes, hurricanes and fire damage claims make Insurance Companies cringe. Why? Because when the word “emergency” and “insured loss” are used in the same sentence, it usually means they will be spending money. Plus, they will have to hire additional Insurance Adjusters to handle claims and explain to homeowners how to file insurance claims.

When is the last time “smoke billowing out of the hood of your car” was a cheap or affordable repair? In my case, this would be never. Emergencies do not happen often, but when they do occur they are usually expensive. Emergencies make us all cringe because these are the times when we must increase our expenses to cover the unforeseen situation.

For a second, I want you to think about a tornado emergency like Christmas (In July). It sounds silly, but imagine the Insurance Company as ‘Mom and Dad’ and the homeowner as the ‘Kids’. If you are having a difficult time with this example, just imagine 8 kids that all go to a nice private school, and 2, Mike and Missy, that are in an alternative Art School and are enrolled in the Finance Program for extra credits. Last semester they did a research paper on “How to File an Insurance Claim” and earned extra time to paint, which is their true passion.

So it is May 29th and Mom and Dad (the Insurance Company) are starting to think about the season. They know it is around the corner and want to make sure that on Christmas morning, everyone feels they were treated fairly, even Mike and Missy (who swore going to the Art School would count as all Birthday and Christmas gifts for the year.) So they start talking about the Christmas forecast and determine that it should be a calm season, everyone’s expectations are in line with what they want…no big expenditures. With a nice, lean budget in mind they relax and look forward to a mellow and peaceful summer with the kids.

Mom and Dad work for a big Financial Firm and June is a busy month for them. As they deal with closing the books, they are unable to find time to go shopping for the kids. Mom has been working on a new best seller “How to File an Insurance Claim for Funny Folks”. As the end of June approaches, they look forward to July and know they will be able to find time to get all the shop for the kids done.

June is done and July is here. Actually, it is not just July, it is July 10th and our Tornado Emergency has hit. Mom and Dad (Insurance Companies) are scrambling to figure out whats on everyone’s Christmas Wish List (what damages were done) and settle (claims) what can be settled quickly.

Time is ticking and Mom is rushing out to the mall looking for a hockey stick for Joe. It is affordable, it will make him happy, and it is the only thing he wanted so she figured she would start there and get it out of the way fast. While at the mall, she calls Dad and proclaims that she has figured out gifts for 5 of the kids.

If she buys these gifts, they will exceed their budget. The upside is they will have 6 kids squared away and only have 4 more to buy for. Dad asks “Which kids? Who are the gifts for?” Mom runs through the list quickly “Missy, Jimmy, Joe, Joan, and Mark). Dad is concerned about spending so much on Missy and Mark because the other kids might feel jilted. Everyone knows they are paying double the tuition for the “Art School” and that is a big drain on the family account, but he says OK. (Important note: Mark, Missy and Joe know how to File Insurance Claims)

Mom buys the gifts and knows the kids will be happy. No complaints.

As she is strolling through the mall, Karin her youngest, calls and proclaims that a famous rock star will be coming to town next month. (Note: Karin also knows how to file insurance claims) The local radio station is giving away tickets to callers every hour. Karin and her friend are wondering when she will be home so they can use her phone. Mom says about an hour and they end their call.

Eureka! One more kid down! Karin is getting tickets to the concert, whether she likes it or not! In a hot mess, she heads down to the Concert Ticket Window to buy tickets for Karin and her friend. Mom does not bother calling Dad, she knows he will be stressed about sending their 13 year old to the concert, so she makes the decision herself.

Got kids? Got Tickets? $350 Poorer? That s how mom felt after draining the Charge Card. This was no rosy commercial. Christmas (The Tornado) is draining the family coffer and fast. Mom wonders if Karin took the chance to take advantage of the situation and trick her into buying the tickets. No time to think about it now, done is done.

When Mom got home, she showed Dad all the gifts she had bought. They looked at the receipts and gasped. Dad does not seem as upset about Karin going to the concert, but he is mad that mom spent so much. Thoughts of all the remaining stuff to be done this Season made their butt cheeks pucker.

3 More Kids to buy for
A turkey
The Office Holiday Party

Gifts (Settlements) for 7 of the 10 kids are complete. Hopefully those kids will remain happy. After much deliberation, they decided to better review and properly examine the gifts and expenses that remain. (Note: In our example: these kids do not know how to file insurance claims) Over the next 10 days they shop around and find, skates for Brenda ($25), a Painting Kit for Sally ($45) and a Royal Blue Fuzzy Hat for George ($3.) P.S. – George asked for the Fuzzy Hat in Black last year….so I am sure he will love it:-)

Moral of the Story: Early Bird Gets the Worm. Know how to file insurance claims and get your claim in early.

During an emergency, the large Insurance Companies, Emergency Services, and other Service Agencies are caught in a mad rush to get the situation under control quickly. All Homeowner are in need of insurance claims help and rushing to submit homeowner insurance claims. In the beginning, everyone is working to insure people are safe and the rebuilding is started immediately. As the situation unfolds, in our case a Tornado named Christmas, more processes and procedures are put in place that slow the flow of money. New rules for how to file an insurance claim are implemented. Systems are developed to minimize the insurance claim problems and possible insurance claim fraud that plagued the earlier days. The short story is…the Early Bird Gets the Worm, experiences less hassle, but the early bird needs to be informed, prepared and on top of their claim.

If homeowners start thinking about their Insurance Claims like the Holiday season, they will realize that getting things done as soon as possible is critical. It is important to get your claim in EARLY & PROMPTLY, but you must know the type of claim and nature of your loss before you submit your claim. Is your loss covered by YOUR Policy? What documentation will the Insurance Company need? When will you be paid? How do you make sure your claim is handled quickly?

The answer to these questions is very important and determines when and how your claim will be handled. Learn how to file insurance claims so you do things the right way. When filling out forms, make sure you have the details correct, as mistakes or inconsistencies may cause your claim to be denied or delayed. Confirm everything is correct before you submit your claim.

Before filing home insurance claims, you must understand the type of claim you are submitting. Homeowners insurance provides protection for you, but only for the losses described in your Insurance as a home owner insurance policy. Home Insurance can save you and your family from the monetary loss experienced with the damage or loss of your home, and your valuables inside it. There is a wide array of home insurance policies. Nonetheless, it is important to know that Insurance Policies vary from state-to-state and provider-to-provider.

As an Insurance Consumer it is important to understand the Insurance Claim Process. Know the different directions your claim can go from the moment you submit your claim will help save you time and maximize your settlement amount. If you are searching for answers on How to File Insurance Claims, Insurance Claim Advice or need Insurance Claim Help, the information you need is hear. Gain access to tools, resources, and information that will empower you to handle your claim successfully.

Insurance Claim Denial – Know Your Rights

Insurance companies are not quick to advertise that good faith claims standards require them to investigate your insurance claim in a prompt and reasonable manner. Nor can they force you into an unwarranted insurance dispute grounded in unreasonable delay tactics and excessive demands.

The purpose of a legitimate insurance investigation is to pave the way for a fair and reasonable claim settlement. In the minority of situations where a claim denial is warranted, that insurance claim denial must be based on a solid and impartial investigation.

But unfortunately, dishonest insurance companies find ways to deny claim settlements rather than pay them. And these shady practices are based on the chance that by forcing you to wait, by forcing you to bow to their demands, you will eventually give up.

The more frequent unfair claim settlement schemes include unfair policy interpretations, unfounded coverage decisions, unreasonable demands for supporting information, and the most frequent of them all, the “ongoing investigation”.

These practices are conceived to generate extensive insurance claim delays, all without justification, all flawed. Following weeks and months of delays, you are at their mercy, not knowing whether your legitimate insurance claim will be honored or unfairly denied. And that’s the plan.

Your only chance is to accept the challenge of the insurance dispute. To do this, you must arm yourself with the knowledge to seize power from the insurance company.

You can begin with these basic insurance claim help tips.

Chances are your state has adopted the universal “Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act”. These standards have been legislated into the laws of most all states, placing restrictions on insurance company unfair claims practices. For example:

• Insurance companies must promptly acknowledge and act upon your insurance claim. In some states, actions are required within a specified time period.
• Insurance companies must implement and follow stringent standards for the prompt investigation of all insurance claims.
• An insured person must be kept up to date on the progress of the insurance claim
• Insurance investigations are required to be both reasonable and timely.
• Insurance claim settlements must be fair and reasonable, and must meet reasonable expectations
• The insurance investigation cannot include unfair, unreasonable, and repeated demands for documents and supporting data as a requirement for settling your insurance claim.

Consistent violations of these regulations set the stage for an environment of unfair claims practices. You must learn how to recognize these tactics, and how to respond. Your goal is to achieve a fair claim settlement, even if that means you must rise to the obvious insurance dispute.

What should you do if you are the recipient of an unfair insurance claim denial? How can you protect your interests? Begin with the documentation.

• How were you notified of the claim denial? Denials must be sent to you in writing, they must be clear and precise, and they must specify the precise policy provisions that resulted in the claim denial.
• Insurance policies are contracts of adhesion, meaning the insurance company must interpret language to the benefit of the insured. Were the policy provisions fairly applied?
• Claim denials must be conducted in a reasonable and timely manner. Does the claim denial document support that such an investigation was conducted in regard to your claim?
• The insurance company must be prepared to defend its interpretation of the policy. Is that interpretation fair, impartial and relevant?

Here are some additional insurance claim help tips.

Study the “Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act” for your state. Educate yourself on the laws and regulations that apply to unfair insurance practices. While these laws include penalties for unfair insurance practices, the authorities cannot intercede on your individual claim. Instead, take your knowledge of those laws to intervene on your own.

If the claim denial was issued by your insurance company, carefully study your policy. You must understand what your rights are according to that policy. And look specifically for appeals and review processes detailed in the policy. Some policy conditions require that you must meet these conditions before you can take further action, including the filing of a lawsuit.

An insurance denial must provide the specific conditions for that claim denial. An insurance company cannot ignore your claim, or place such obstacles in your way that you cannot possibly satisfy the unreasonable conditions. To the contrary, the company must resolve your insurance claim, and that resolution must be based on fairness and impartiality.

Fire Insurance Claims – Tips to Consider After the Fire is Out

Almost everyone who has suffered damages to their property as a result of a fire insurance claim makes costly mistakes during and after the settlement. However, there is one very costly mistake that policyholders make time and time again without even knowing it. And, the winner is (or should we say loser); Most policyholders simply rely on their insurance company adjuster to inspect, evaluate, and estimate their entire insurance claim without checking up on them. This can be the most costly mistake anyone could ever make in their entire life.

It’s bad enough to have your property destroyed by fire, but relying on someone else to visit your property, inspect it, provide a proper value, and then trust that they got it all correct… Is Simply I N S A N E ! Yet, policyholders allow this to happen all across the country, day-in and day-out. For most people it’s human nature to count their “change” at the grocery store or diligently review their dinner bill to be sure the waiter didn’t charge them for items they did not order. We’ve all done it. We go out of our way to count and keep track of our chump change. Yet, when it comes to tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars from a fire insurance claim, we rely on the insurance company without question.

No one knows your property like you do. There is much to do to properly prepare and configure a fire insurance claim that in most instances, items are forgotten or missed during the process. Especially if it’s done by someone at your insurance company. They don’t know about your building, your property, or your contents (furniture, clothing, etc.) like you do. How could they possibly be as accurate as you? Furthermore, just because an insurance company adjuster visits your property for an inspection does not mean they are a professional contractor, builder, or certified in fire and water damage restoration.

With the review of thousands of closed claims, we have found that in most cases, both insurance companies and policyholders unknowingly miss damages that are hidden from the naked eye. In almost all instances; it is a good idea to have a professional review your fire damage claim. Preferably a fire insurance claims appraiser, consultant, or fire consulting firm.

Policyholders often believe that when the insurance company sends them a check and they deposit the money in their bank account – the claim is closed. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is; that in most states a policyholder has 3-years to make a claim and even ADD to an existing claim. So, a review of your claim to see if you have been properly compensated can occur, during the claims process or even after the claim has been settled. You can also obtain more money from your claim – even if it has been torn down and demolished.

Yes, even if your claim has been settled and you have deposited the checks, or your building has been torn down and demolished, you can still obtain more insurance proceeds if the damages were not assessed properly. In many cases, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of more dollars. Even when a policyholder believes they have received a fair settlement… they usually have not.

However, it’s up to the policyholder to do their part to protect themselves. Here are a few tips to assist in the review of your fire insurance claim. There are tips if you are in the middle of your claim – as well as tips if your claim has closed some time ago.

1. During Claim -

Document Your Building Damage: Take the time to inspect and document the damages yourself. Take photos of all damaged rooms in your building. Take overviews of the room and then take some close-up photos of the damaged ceilings, walls, floors, windows, doors, etc. of that room as well. Work your way around the building to the left (clock wise). Before entering the next room, closet, or hall – take an overview. This will be an easy way to organize which photos belong to which rooms. An example is; Overview of living room, then from top to bottom, photos of ceiling, walls, windows, doors, then the floor. Then the first photo of the next room is an overview, and so on. (No pictures or close-ups of contents yet, just the rooms.)

1. Closed Claim -

Obtain Documents Of Your Building: The insurance adjuster has taken photos of your building during their inspection. If you have no photos yourself, or minimal photos – then request all photos taken by the adjuster from the insurance company. You should also request the diagram/sketch they used to calculate the square footage of your building. Also request the complete detailed estimate they have written to arrive at their numbers. This documentation will be useful for the fire insurance claim consultant you choose.

2. During Claim -

Document Your Contents Damage: Next is to visit each room and closet once again to inventory your contents. Take an overview photo of each piece of furniture, pair of shoes, shirts, pants, etc. Then a close-up photo of any damage on that item. Write each item down on a Contents Inventory Form. ( Download one by contacting us at the link below. ) Similar to the way you have photographed and organized your building damage photos, you should do the same with your contents. Example; Take overview photo of living room, then work your way around the room to the left (clockwise). Photograph and list all the items on each wall until you get back to the doorway you began at. This way items will not be missed or forgotten. Once the living room inventory has been completed, move to the next room and start by taking an overview photo of the room. this helps organize what room the contents were located. List the name of the room at he top of each page of your inventory list. Now the photos and the list are both organized in sequence with each other.

2. Closed Claim -

Obtain Documents Of Your Contents Damage: The insurance adjuster has taken photos of your contents during their inspection as well. If you have no photos yourself, or minimal photos – then request all photos taken by the adjuster of your contents. You should also request the complete detailed contents inventory they have written to arrive at their numbers. This documentation will be useful for the fire insurance claim consultant you choose.

3. During Claim -

Review Your Policy: Fire victims must take the time to review their insurance policy. You must know the basics; How much coverage do you have on your building? How much coverage do you have for your contents (furniture, clothing, etc.)? How much coverage do you have to stay in a hotel or to rent a home or furniture? Surprisingly, many people don’t know this. In many cases the policy has been damaged in the fire. If this is the case; visit your agent and ask for a certified copy of your full policy. Ask your agent to help explain how much coverage you have.

3. Closed Claim -

Obtain Copy Of Your Policy: Contact your insurance company and request a certified copy of your “FULL” insurance policy, including the Declarations page. This documentation will be useful for the fire insurance claim consultant you choose.

4. During Claim -

Consult A Professional: The insurance company will have an adjuster visit the property, inspect the damages, and complete an estimate on the amount of loss. It is important that you have the same process completed for yourself. How do you know the insurance adjuster is doing their job correctly? Are you willing to forfeit tens of thousands of dollars by not taking the time to make sure? The insurance company is supposed to explain all the fire insurance claim coverage that is available to the policyholder, however, this is rarely done. Sometimes it’s done on purpose, and other times it’s also done on purpose (Did you catch that? This is done on purpose more often than not.) It’s your property, it’s your policy, and it’s your money. Educate yourself to be sure you are being fully compensated for your loss. Hire a fire insurance claim professional to review the insurance company’s evaluation. Obtain your own “real-world” prices and costs to replace your property.

4. Closed Claim -

Consult A Professional: Did you receive a fair settlement for your fire insurance claim? How do you know unless you ask someone? If you are unsure if you have obtained a fair settlement from your insurance company, you owe it to yourself to find out. If you have collected all the data as outlined above; you will have enough data on your claim to have a professional review it. A review of your claim will allow the fire insurance claim consultant to advise you where you stand. Leaving yourself in the dark, with a chance of forfeiting tens of thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars makes zero sense. A small fee to find out where you stand is a small price to pay, compared to a large sum of insurance proceeds that you did not know existed.