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1/26/16

What Insurance Companies Don’t Tell You after a Blizzard

  1. The adjuster assigned to you doesn’t actually work for the Ins. Co. He is most likely an independent adjuster who probably lives out of state and was called into the area because of the storm. He most likely works for several carriers. His job is to settle claims quickly and for as cheap as possible. He will not be available for a return visit if necessary. He will not be able to re-negotiate if necessary. Any problems he encounters are forwarded onto someone’s desk at corporate and your file is put in a pile with 200 other open/pending claims.
  2. If a State is declared a Disaster Area any claim that arises out it is paid for out of the Disaster Reserve Fund not the normal reserve fund. Insurance Companies are like Casino’s they have to have enough money in the vault to cover every chip on the casino floor. So when a Disaster hits they open the vault because they have experienced a run of thousands of claims at once. However, they have to replenish that vault in order to stay compliant. So the less they pay out, the less they have to put back.
  3. Filing a claim as a result of a natural disaster (according to many Gov. Insurance Administrations) shall not be counted as a normal claim. It shall not cause your rates to increase or the loss of a claims free discount on your yearly premium. Also a disaster claim can’t be used by any other insurance companies for underwriting purposes when switching companies to determine a premium rate. These are all Unfair Claims Practices and unfortunately are routinely practiced.
  4. When a State is declared a Disaster Area and Insurance Companies have paid out large losses they can apply to the State run Insurance Administration for a rate increase in certain zip codes by as much as several percent. They do this to help offset the cost of replenishing their Disaster Reserve Fund. If you are concerned about filing a claim, you may as well do it anyway because everyone receives a rate increase whether you file a claim or not.
  5. You have the right to hire your own public adjuster to inspect the property, produce an estimate, negotiate replacement cost value and actual cash value, and use principled negotiation tactics based on policy language to return the insured to pre-loss condition.

call me : Patrick Sauer 410-382-0913 I am a Licensed Public Adjuster


1/26/16

Why are Ice damming Claims so difficult to prove?

It’s because the damage is often concealed in the roofing system and in the walls of the building structure.

Traditionally most claims arising from ice dams have been paid, however insurance companies are a for-profit business and generally don’t hand over money without proof. So they make the policyholder prove their claim and show the damage by filing a claim. The burden of proof is on YOU.

This is where a qualified/licensed public adjuster can assist YOU. When you hire a public adjuster, the burden of proof switches. Now the Insurance Co. has to prove to your public adjuster why they won’t pay the claim.  A public adjuster holds the same license the Insurance company adjuster does. Public adjusters level the playing field. They have their experts. Shouldn’t you?

 Frequently Asked Questions:

 Q: Do insurance companies cover damage caused by ice damming?

Answer: Yes, the vast majority of policies cover it. Some basic policies may exclude or cap the amount they will pay. They even pay the costs associated with the drying out or remediation of any interior water and repairing the damage caused by the water. A public adjuster can determine your coverages with a quick review of your declarations page of your home owner’s policy.

Q: Should I file a claim for ice damming?

Answer: It depends on your deductible and the extent of the loss and damage.  Aluminum gutters and asphalt shingles are not as expensive to replace as copper gutters and slate shingles. Plaster is more expensive than sheetrock. Hardwood is more expensive than laminate. A public adjuster will provide you with an estimate and help you determine if the claim is worthy of filing. If you file a claim, and it doesn’t meet your deductible you may lose our claims free discount and your rates raised.

Q: Will insurance pay for a new roof due to an ice dam?

Answer: It depends. Hire a Public Adjuster before taking the insurance adjusters word for it. Get some estimates. The age and condition of the roof play a significant role in determining complete replacement

Q: What are typical forms of damage done by ice damming to homes?

Answer: The most common damage is water inside walls, ceilings and floors. Water will cause permanent warping of hardwood floors and will damage insulation by diminishing its R-value by as much as 70%. If not fixed, it will cause mold inside the walls, your ceilings to cave in, warp your wood floors, and damage personal property.


10/22/15

Storm Damage Claims - Roofers Target Neighborhoods With Aging Roofs

This is happening now in Timonium and Cockeysville Maryland as the result of a recent Hail Storm. Do Not fall for this scam. If your roof was damaged hire a Public Adjuster, and get multiple estimates. Let a Public Adjuster negotiate your claim. Never, ever, ever sign something called an AOB "Assignment of Benefits" form. This form takes away all your rights and puts the  check in the roofers hands. A Public Adjuster puts the check in your hand.Please click the link below and watch this video to learn what to avoid and how to protect yourself.

Storm Damage Claims - Roofers Target Neighborhoods With Aging Roofs

 Contact me at Pat@LossRecoveryExperts.net to discuss your particular situation.


10/14/15

TOP TEN REASONS TO HIRE A PUBLIC ADJUSTER

  1. You have never read your Homeowners Policy and probably never will.
  2. If you did read it you probably didn’t fully understand it.
  3. You are unsure of the difference between Guaranteed Replacement Cost and Replacement Cost Basis.
  4. You don’t understand the concept of ACV (Actual Cash Value).
  5. You don’t understand the concept of RCV (Replacement Cost Value).
  6. You don’t understand the concept of Deprec. (Depreciation).
  7. You don’t understand the concept of O&P (Overhead and Profit).
  8. You don’t understand the concept of Ordinance of Law (code upgrades required)
  9. You aren’t a roofer, plumber, electrician, carpenter, or contractor and have limited knowledge of construction and estimates.
  10. Your Insurance Co. is a FOR PROFIT business. They make their money on denying, delaying, and deferring claims.

10/8/15

Major Flooding in MD, DE, NC & SC Coastal Regions from Hurricane Joaquin

Flood Insurance Claims

If you’re a flood damage victim in MD, DE, NC or SC you can call me to have all your questions answered about flood and property damage claims. Visit my website for more details www.LossRecoveryExperts.net

What people don’t understand about Floods and Water Damage claims is that they are totally different entities often thought of as the same claim. Typically Floods are not covered whereas Water Damage from wind and rain is covered. Floods are covered under the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) under a totally separate policy due to the extreme risk and exposure.  The average homeowner does not need flood insurance. Those that do need Flood Insurance are often informed of the need by their Mortgage Company and are required to have it as a condition of the loan.

Before you file a claim you need to make sure that you actually had a flood. The NFIP has clearly defined what constitutes a Flood.  Here it is:

  • A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of 2 or more acres of normally dry land area or of 2 or more properties (at least 1 of which is the policyholder's property) from:
    --Overflow of inland or tidal waters; or
    --Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or
    --Mudflow; or
  • Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.

Other issues regarding Flood Claims are:

  • Limited amounts of coverage
  • Flood Adjusters can’t negotiate. The write claims to be submitted for consideration.
  • You only have 60 days to file a proof of loss
  • Waivers are required for extensions and can only be given by gov’t officials

We have represented hundreds of flood victims. Our adjusters were on scene for weeks at a time for both Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Sandy.  Our process is streamlined, efficient and our adjusters are well known by the Flood Claim Adjusters from FEMA and the Gov’t. Please contact us if you need help.  A Public Adjuster can make a difference in the Claim Settlement amount from pennies on the dollar to be properly indemnified.


10/2/15

What to expect after the Storm from your Insurance Company

After prolonged winds and storms over several days and the threat of a hurricane just offshore Insurance Companies will be overrun with claims. Not every claim will be covered. Damage will not always be paid for and insurance companies will be paying pennies on the dollar and using every tool in their toolbox to deny, delay, or defer claims.

The most prevalent problems with insurance companies are as follows:

  • Losses Not Covered
    • they tell you it's not storm damage, it's neglect and failure to upkeep your home
    • they tell you the damage is due to wind driven rain, which it isn't
    • they tell you the damage is due to flood water, which it isn't
  • Underpaid Claims
    • they tell you that your contractors estimate is wrong.
    • they tell you we only repair not replace damaged items, which is wrong
    • they tell you the item shows no damage and only these few things need repair, not these other things
  • Stall Tactics & Delays
    • they deny proof of loss and / or liability
    • the payment is delayed and held up even though a settlement amount was reached
    • they hold up payment over depreciation issues due to age and condition issues.

The simplest ways to counter act these problems are as follows:

  • Hire a Public Adjuster
    • A Public Adjuster knows what's covered and what isn't and has the same license as the Ins.Co. Adjuster
    • A Public Adjuster provides his own estimate as well as contractors estimates and experts if needed
    • A Public Adjuster can argue depreciation and actual cash value
    • A Public Adjuster holds the Ins. Co. accountable for Unfair Claims Practices

Is it worth the hassle? Or should I just accept what they give me?

  • Your Home is the most expensive thing you'll ever own
    • Accepting what they give you often depreciates the value of your home which goes against the idea of having insurance in the first place. Insurance is meant to "make you whole again" to return you to "Pre-loss Condition". You shouldn't accept patch jobs, when your policy has "guaranteed replacement cost" coverage.

Your Insurance policy is a contract. It is a contract of adhesion. You have to pay the premium and they have to pay the loss and assume the risk. How is it that they can routinely deny, delay or defer claims? Simply put, you never read it and you probably never will. Hire a professional to represent you.

                             


10/1/15

Hurricanes and Flood Insurance: What Homeowners Should Know

To protect your home against hurricane and flood damage, purchase flood insurance.

The general rule of thumb is if water enters your home from above ground or higher it's covered. If water comes through your foundation walls or touches the ground first it's considered flood water and isn't covered unless you have a flood policy

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/hurricanes-flood-insurance-what-homeowners-30130.html

               


9/30/15

Why you should involve a Public Adjuster in your Insurance Claim

There are very few Law Firms that represent insureds. The reason being is that the Insurance Companies have much deeper pockets. The Merlin Law Group is the exception to the rule. These guys are the Good Guys!! Insurance Companies hate these guys....because they Win.

Here is a video of one of their atty's explaining why you should enlist the services of a Public Adjuster. It is short and very informative.


09/29/15

Loss Recovery Experts - Helping Homeowners with Hail Damage in Baltimore County

In the recent past a Hail Storm came through your neighborhood and caused substantial property damage. Many roofing systems were damaged as well as siding, decks, AC units, sheds, and other structures.  There is no doubt you were probably inundated with Storm Chasers and Contractors offering quick fixes. If you decided to sign with them you may have been a victim of fraudulent claims practices. Contactors in the State of Maryland are not authorized to act as your agent with your Insurance Company.  Only a Licensed Public Adjuster may negotiate on your behalf.

Here's the scam:

  1. They scare you into a roof repair or siding repair.
    2. They tell you it won't cost you a thing.
    3. They make you sign a contract giving them the right to contact your insurance company.
    4. The contract you signed forgoes your rights to Overhead and Profit which means if money is left over, they keep it.
    5. The contractor submits an estimate to the insurance company on your behalf.
    6. The estimate is never seen by you.
    7. The insurance adjuster never comes to your house.
    8. The money the insurance company pays out goes directly to the contractor.
    9. The repair to your home, more often than not, does not match what was on the estimate.
    10. When your roof leaks in 3 months they tell you to file a claim.

This ambulance chasing practice has landed more than a few of these companies in hot water in the past. People have gone to jail over this and have paid some serious fines. What it comes down to is that no one is allowed to act as an agent for the insured unless they hold a license. There is no recourse for the homeowner when things go wrong, and they often do go wrong, very wrong.

If you feel that you’ve been wronged by your contractor please call me. Only a licensed Public Adjuster can re-open a closed claim in MD. You may be entitled to more money. Consultations are free and we work on a contingency basis, which means if we are unsuccessful in the re-negotiation of your claim we don’t charge you a fee. If we are successful, we’ve put more money in your pocket. Money you were entitled in the first place!

And if you were thinking of hiring a contractor because you’ve heard everyone in your neighborhood has done it, DON’T do it until you speak to me. A Public Adjuster will put the Insurance check into your hands, not the contractors. You have the right to control the process, and accept competitive bids. You should never trust a contractor to negotiate on your behalf especially when it comes to the most expensive thing you will ever own, your home. Our job is to advocate, educate, and protect the policy holder.


5/10/16
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