Chances are that your home, business or other real estate investment is among the most significant investments you have made. Unfortunately, serious damage to property is a regular occurrence in North Texas as a result of house fires, hail storms, tornadoes and numerous other factors.
Here are some tips that I hope will help you if you ever find yourself in a situation where your own insurance company is treating you unfairly after a major loss – that might even prevent such a standoff:
Make Sure You Have Enough Insurance in the First Place
Most people only insure themselves for the purchase price of the property. Often, this is insufficient to cover the cost of rebuilding.
Make Sure You Fully Understand What You’re Insured For
Not all insurance policies are created equal. Make sure you know exactly what is covered (personal property, required building code upgrades, etc.) and what specific situations are covered or excluded (fire, flooding, tornadoes, etc.).
Document Your Loss
As with any insurance claim, the more documentation you have supporting your claim, the better. This means copies of official paperwork, photographs of damage, preserving damaged property as proof, etc.
Review the Insurance Adjuster’s Estimates
If you feel their offer is insufficient, review it to make sure they didn’t miss anything – and get a second opinion from a licensed contractor.
Keep a Written Record of Your Dealings with the Insurance Company
Every time you talk to the insurance adjuster, document the date and time of the conversation, who you spoke to, and what was discussed. If you receive any letters or other documentation from them, keep it all together in a file somewhere safe.
Options if Treated Unfairly
Hopefully, your insurance company will treat you fairly. However, if your claim is unjustifiably denied or delayed by the insurance company, then you’re probably going to need a lawyer on your side in order to make sure you get the full amount of money that you deserve. The law has certain safeguards in place to ensure fairness. Unfortunately, you might have to hire a lawyer to enforce those laws.