When a disaster befalls your home, all you want is for the insurance company to give you the money to repair the damage and replace your possessions. However, an insurance claim isn’t that simple. The insurer will send an adjuster to inspect the damage and determine a dollar amount for reimbursement.
Experts recommend you don’t take the first offer the insurance company makes. The task of the adjuster sent by the insurance company is to settle the claim quickly and as inexpensively for the insurer as possible. There are some good reasons why you shouldn’t rush to take the first offer.
There may be damage hidden behind walls, under floors and in attics that isn’t detected until reconstruction and repairs begin. Water used to extinguish a blaze can create mold growth. Microscopic particles (soot) will permeate even the smallest cracks and crevices, causing odors for months to come and creating potential health risks.
The initial offer from the insurance company may not be sufficient to cover increased costs of materials and possessions, prevailing labor costs, hours required for repairs, or any overtime expenses. The insurance company will offer what it feels is fair recompense without taking any of those factors into account. The insurer may also recommend one of their “approved” contractors that will do the work for the price offered. Make sure you have more options.
The goal of the insurer is to spend as little as possible. They know the urgency with which you want to get started on repairs. Insurers are expert at finding reasons why the claim should be denied or creative ways to apply exclusions. The insurer may even attempt to raise doubts about arson, fraud or negligence on your part.
Insurers may argue that the home’s contents have depreciated and their value is no longer valid. It doesn’t account for new or gently used possessions. It does give the insurance company an excuse for offering less.