Things to Know Before a Homeowner’s Insurance Adjuster Comes to Your Home
If you’ve had damage or loss to your home for any reason, your first step is usually to call your insurance company. When you do, an insurance adjuster may come to your home to look at and assess the damage. This may seem like a relief—the insurance company is acting quickly and you’re well on your way to getting your home repaired or getting funds to repair it.
But don’t be fooled. Here are some important things to know before an adjuster comes to your home to inspect the damage.
Dealing with the Adjuster
Rarely do insurance adjusters show up and ask you how little they can pay, and rarely do they tell you that a loss is not covered. They may in fact be friendly and seem very helpful. But don’t let them “kill you with kindness,” as the saying goes.
Certainly you should be responsive to the adjuster’s questions, but remember the adjuster works for the insurance company. His job is to find ways to reduce or deny coverage, while still being compliant with your policy. Many questions he asks you may seem innocuous, or just curious, when in fact your answer may have a serious impact on whether your loss ends up covered or not.
Remember to speak up and tell the adjuster of damages that are not readily observable; for example, damages in hard-to-find places in your home, or losses to property that have just completely been destroyed (such as items blown away in a storm or totally burned in a fire).
The adjuster may ask you questions to which you don’t know the answer. Saying that you don’t know is ok. For example, saying you don’t know what material your walls are made of is fine. Saying you don’t know how your damage happened would not be a good idea. Either way, do not guess or speculate.
Don’t assume that the longer the inspection, the more likely it is that the adjuster will accept your loss as covered under your homeowners’ policy. Longer evaluations sometimes mean the adjuster is trying to find non-covered causes for your losses. It could also mean the adjuster is trying to get an accurate measure of the cost to fix your property.
In some ways, catastrophic damage is easier to evaluate than minor damage. For example, cracks in your floor could be caused by a contractor’s error, sinkholes, tile installation mistake, water intrusion, and other things, some of which may or may not be covered.
On the other hand, a roof completely blown off after a storm won’t take much investigation, other than to determine the cost of replacement.
Anything that the adjuster doesn’t see on initial inspection, or about which you forget to tell him/her, will be perceived with suspicion by the insurance company. That’s why it’s best to prepare for your meeting by evaluating your own home, having documentation of missing items, and being detailed in your explanation of your damages.
It’s best to have good legal representation at every step of the homeowner’s insurance claims process. Contact the Celeste Law Firm in West Palm Beach today for a consultation about helping you with your homeowner’s insurance dispute.