Experiencing a natural disaster like a hurricane is scary. However, when the hurricane causes a disaster in your home, the experience can be devastating. After a hurricane, you may be overwhelmed by endless questions about how to move forward. You may wonder how to deal with an insurance adjuster to ensure you receive sufficient payment for your losses.
Steps to Take After Suffering Hurricane Damage
First, carefully review your insurance policy and terms regarding hurricane coverage and responsibilities.
Next, safely assess the extent of the damage to your home. While a hurricane can be devastating, in some cases, the damage may not be as bad as it seems.
Third, inventory and assess your property’s damage with photographs and lists of items damaged and their estimated value.
Fourth, protect your property from further damage. If personal property items escaped damage, be sure to remove them from the home. Cover up roof and window damage with tarps or plywood. If your property suffers further damage after the storm because you didn’t take reasonable steps to protect it, your insurance policy may not cover those items.
Lastly, contact your insurance adjuster to discuss filing a claim for relief. Learning the proper steps to take and how to deal with a home insurance adjuster alleviates the stress you may already be feeling after a hurricane.
What Does the Adjuster Do for Home Insurance?
An insurance adjuster determines how much your insurance company should pay you based on your claim. It’s important to know how to deal with an insurance claims adjuster so you experience limited delays processing your claim. Insurance adjusters typically do the following:
- Investigate, evaluate, and settle insurance claims;
- Determine coverage of the insurance policy;
- Determine how much insurance companies should pay for losses claimed;
- Negotiate settlements; and
- Authorize payments.
An adjuster comes out to your home to assess the damage suffered as a result of the hurricane. After assessing the damage to your home, the adjuster creates a report for review by claims examiners. If approved, the adjuster negotiates with you to settle the claim.
A claims adjuster is not on your side. The insurance adjuster’s goal is to resolve the insurance company’s claim for as little cost as possible.
What Should You Not Say to an Insurance Adjuster?
Understanding how to deal with an insurance claims adjuster avoids harming the outcome of your claim with your insurance company:
Never Admit Fault
Even after natural disasters like hurricanes, it’s important to avoid language accepting blame. For example, don’t make statements suggesting that you could have done more to prevent damages that occurred. Do not admit that any portion of your claim should be excluded due to improper installation, improper maintenance, or wear and tear. It is important to understand that policy exclusions are disfavored in the law and that insurance companies often raise them improperly. In short, admitting fault may damage the chances of recovering compensation for your claim.
If you don’t know what happened, do not guess when the insurance adjuster asks you questions. While it’s essential to tell the truth, do not provide details that the adjuster does not request.
Never accept the first offer from an insurance adjuster. Avoid settling your claim until you discuss the offer with a qualified property damage attorney.
How Long Do Insurance Adjusters Have to Respond?
States require insurance companies to respond to filed claims within a certain period of time. In Louisiana, an insurance company has 30 days to begin adjustment of a hurricane claim and 30 days to pay the claim upon receipt of evidence of the amount owed. In Texas, insurance companies have 15 days to acknowledge and commence an investigation into your claim. Insurers may extend this timeframe to 45 days but must have good reason to do so.
Talk to an Insurance Claims Lawyer
To learn more about how to deal with an insurance adjuster on home insurance claims, contact Johns Law Group. You need a qualified attorney to protect your rights and fight on your behalf. Johns Law Group has helped clients recover millions of dollars in insurance disputes. Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help you.