Damage to your Home, Condominium or Commercial Property by an insurable cause of loss can be devastating, both financially and emotionally. The Loss event (typically Fire, Storm or Flood) triggers the process of Florida insurance claims adjusting. You should always have a complete copy of your Insurance Policy handy for review at the time of loss. Keeping a copy in a safe place, off premises, is the best practice. A complete copy includes the Declaration Pages (which identifies the Named Insured and the limits of coverage for each covered item) as well as the actual Insurance Contract, with all Endorsements, Limitations and Exclusions.
By contract, you must provide Notice of your Claim to the Insurance Company within a specified time, usually within 30 days of your knowledge that a loss occurred. Failure to file a Loss Report may jeopardize your coverage.
Many Insurance Companies deal ethically with their customers. They look for ways to help, within the confines of the coverage you agreed to pay for. However, determining the total value of your claim and presenting that Proof of Loss to your company for payment is a tricky business. The average Insurance Buyer does not have the knowledge or skills to be certain they are getting all the claim dollars they paid for. To assist you in your efforts, you may want to consider hiring a Public Adjuster. A good Adjuster will review your policy contract and submit a description of loss that fits the policy language. A proper description of loss can often be the difference between getting paid and having your claim denied or limited.
With your input, your Adjuster should also submit a Proof of Loss, a very important document that Inventories all the damaged items, and provides a researched valuation to maximize your claim payment. Also, there are Coverage Extensions and additional protections hidden in your policy that the Insurance Company won't volunteer.
In Florida, Public Adjusters are subject to a Code of Ethics and laws that provide some consumer protection from abusive practices. An Adjuster cannot initiate contact with a person who has suffered damage within 48 hours of the loss event. He must allow you to cancel his Adjusting Agreement with you, without penalty, within 3 business days after the date of contract execution. For claims filed through Citizen's Insurance Company, the adjuster is limited to a fee not to exceed 10% of any dollars paid in excess of the Company's initial claim offer. He must not steer you to specific contractors, and he must deal honestly with you and your insurance company. Avoid Adjusters who use pressure tactics when soliciting work on your claim. Mr. Sapourn has been a licensed Public Adjuster since 2005. If you need assistance with your claim, visit his Claims Adjusting and Coverage Disputes page on his Insurance Expert Witness website.