There are many reasons why maintaining your property is important and being proactive about it makes it simple.
Why is Property Maintenance So Important?
Property maintenance is important because it can negatively or positively affect your wallet. For example, if your plumbing and electric are all in good working condition, you can benefit from lower utility bills.
In addition, when your property is well maintained, it is more sought after by renters, tenants, and potential buyers. This gives you more leverage to ask for a higher sale price or higher rent.
Pro tip: If you have a rental property, properly maintaining it can attract better tenants and fill the vacancy quicker.
Property maintenance and repairs may also be considered part of your business operating expenses and therefore tax-deductible.
Be Proactive to Improve Property Value
A simple way to avoid hefty financial or laborious maintenance and repair charges down the road is to be proactive and fix the little things or issues before they become bigger ones. Not only will your wallet appreciate this in the short term, but it will also benefit you in the long run, as your property value increases because of it.
The Importance of Property Maintenance
Maintaining your property can be easily managed through routine, preventative, corrective, and cosmetic upkeep. A few commonly neglected areas include your roof, hot water heaters, balconies, and lighting fixtures.
As public insurance adjusters, we have seen it all and understand the value and importance of property maintenance. If you take care of your property regularly, there will be less chance of needing to file an insurance claim down the road. You can catch the minor issues before they turn into major leaks, fires, or mold infestations.
However, if you do ever find yourself in a situation where you need to file a home insurance claim, we are here to help. At Reliant Insurance Adjusters, we treat every client’s property claim as if it is our own.
While other companies may offer similar services, we are dedicated to providing the professionalism, experience, knowledge, and resources to get you the highest possible settlement of your claim.
If you need a trusted adjuster for your insurance claim or to determine if your damages are covered by your policy, contact us today.
As Florida homeowner policyholders face continuous increases in our property insurance, Florida lawmakers are putting forth legislation that could cost you more and affect your wallet.
Floridians throughout the state should be yelling from their rooftops at a new bill that was filed last week making your replacement cost insurance policy an actual cash value policy.
What Does This Mean to You?
It ultimately means more out-of-pocket costs to you if your roof is more than 10 years old. As if it’s not difficult enough that many families are struggling just to put food on their tables and wondering how they will pay their bills, if this legislation goes through, you could also be forced to replace your roof just to keep your home insured.
A Florida homeowner facing this very issue, Wilma Bryant said, “I can’t afford to replace my roof”. Although she has no issues with her roof, her insurance company is requiring her to replace it and giving her only until March 7th to do so. See full story.
Senate Bill 76, specifically pages 3-4 if your roof is more than 10 years old, is very harmful to consumers. I understand that there needs to be a fix to the troublesome insurance market in Florida, but that fix shouldn’t be on the shoulders of policyholders.
Why Are Mortgage Companies Allowing This?
I keep scratching my head and asking myself how mortgage companies aren’t up in arms about this when they require you to have replacement cost insurance coverage for your roof. Quite frankly, I am surprised especially with the amount of storms Florida faces every year.
During a catastrophic event such as a hurricane, with already high deductibles, and then the depreciation of your roof if it is over 10 years old, you may not be able to afford the out-of-pocket costs to replace your roof.
In addition to my advocacy of policyholders, I recently became the second female President in the 28 year history of the Florida Association of Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA). FAPIA works tirelessly to protect the industry and the consumers of Florida and advocates against anti-consumer language.
At Reliant Insurance Adjusters, we always try to keep you up to date on what is happening in the insurance industry. We are always here to help and guide you and will continue to put the protection of insured policyholders first.
If you need a trusted adjuster for your insurance claim or to determine if your damages are covered by your homeowners insurance policy, contact us today.
Reliant Insurance Adjusters LLC, headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, is proud to announce that Co-0wner, Karen Schiffmiller, became President of the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA) in December 2020.
Insurance adjusting has traditionally been a male dominated industry but there has been a trend over the last several years of women entering and thriving in the insurance adjusting industry. As a licensed public insurance adjuster, Schiffmiller is the second woman in the 28 year history of the association to serve as President. A member since 2007, she joined the Board of Directors in 2014. Her goal was to make a positive difference in the industry while expanding on her love of helping others. She became Chair of the FAPIA Community Affairs Committee which focuses on fundraising and making charitable contributions. The Public Adjusters Pay it Forward program has been giving back to worthwhile organizations in communities throughout Florida.
Karen is the principal of her own public adjusting firm, SAS Adjusting Group since 2006. Karen became business partners with Scott Scovin in 2014 and formed Reliant Insurance Adjusters LLC and they have forged a great team representing policyholders throughout the state of Florida. Karen is also a Certified Property Insurance Appraiser and Umpire. Her winning strategy is to put her heart and soul into the important work she does. She is an insurance professional that will leave no stone unturned when representing her clients with their commercial and residential property damage insurance claims. Her focus on always doing the right thing is exactly what the membership expects her to bring to her new role as FAPIA President.
FAPIA’s leadership, under Karen Schiffmiller’s direction, works tirelessly to protect the industry and the consumers of Florida. From monitoring and testifying about insurance legislation to building awareness through the media about issues of interest, FAPIA is an important resource of consultation regarding industry issues. FAPIA offers many business resources to better promote the welfare of its members and also provides outstanding Continuing Education.
“Insurance policyholders often need qualified, licensed and professional insurance claim assistance when they experience property damage to their home or business. Public insurance adjusters are licensed and regulated professionals that help policyholders obtain full and fair settlements from their insurers”, said Schiffmiller.
Karen has represented thousands of policyholders and helped them recover financially after catastrophic claims such as Hurricanes Wilma, Matthew, Irma and Michael. In addition, she has also represented policyholders with water, mold, fire, smoke and sinkhole damage claims throughout Florida. The most common compliment received by policyholders Karen represents is on her organizational skills, attention to detail and how she perseveres on their behalf with their insurance claims.
“FAPIA members elected her to represent the industry because she is an excellent example of the kind of professional that policyholders should expect and deserve in their time of need”, said Managing Director, Nancy Dominguez.
Property damage, particularly the kind of severe damage that can occur during Florida's hurricane season -- can be devastating. High winds, floods, extreme rain, hail, all of these can cause significant damage to your property. Making an insurance claim is a significant step towards getting back on track.
At first, you might find yourself dealing with the immediate aftermath of the storm: salvaging as much as you can, arranging repairs, perhaps even seeking alternative accommodations. Coping with storm damage can be extremely stressful, particularly if you find yourself unable to return to your home for some time afterward. Even so, it's important not to put off contacting your insurance company. While you might have more pressing concerns in the aftermath of a major storm, it's essential to notify your insurance company and put in your claim in a timely manner.
Your insurance policy is designed to cover you in the unfortunate event that you're affected by property damage or loss. It is a contractual agreement with the insurance provider. When you took out the policy, you agreed to be bound by its terms.
Besides various other limitations and exclusions, your policy will contain multiple stipulations regarding claims, including a timeframe within which you must make a claim. Each policy is different and time frames vary between companies and even between the same company policies. If you do not put in your claim within the stated time limit, the insurance company can deny your claim. For this reason, it's crucial to check your policy and find out how long you have to make a claim.
If your claim relates specifically to damage from storms or hurricanes, the timeframe of your request may also be affected by Florida's statutes. Under Florida's statute of limitations, you must give notice of a claim to your insurance company no more than three years after the windstorm or hurricane made landfall. For example, a claim relating to Hurricane Irma would have needed to be made before September 11, 2020.
Even if your policy allows plenty of time to make a claim, it's a good move to contact your insurance company as soon as you can after the damage or loss occurs. The sooner you notify them that you're going to make a claim, the sooner they can begin processing it. You do not have to make a detailed claim right away, but you do have to provide them notice that damage has occurred and file your claim.
When you contact your insurance company, make sure you have your policy number available and any relevant documents on hand. It's a good idea to document and make note of the date and time of the call and the person you talk to. If you are given a claim number, make a careful note of this too. Write down the broad details of what you were told, including any instructions you were given.
If requested by the insurance company, you will need to submit a Proof of Loss Statement. This also needs to be completed within the stipulated timeframe. The Proof of Loss Statement is very important to your claim. It would be best to have a professional, such as a Public Insurance Adjuster help you with this.
Time Limits for Insurance Companies
There are also time restrictions that apply to insurance companies. These exist to ensure that your claim is processed on timely. In most cases, once you make your claim, your insurance company is bound to make a determination on your claim within 90 days.
Suppose you're filing a property damage claim under your homeowner's insurance. In that case, the insurance company is obliged to provide you with a copy of the Homeowner's Claims Bill of Rights within 14 days of receiving notice of your claim. This document details the obligations of both parties under the terms of the insurance policy, including the time limits that you must both abide by.
The amount of time that a claim takes can vary and depends on the claim’s size and complexity. Smaller claims may be agreed upon sooner than larger, more complicated claims involving significant damage or unique properties.
Prevention is Better than Cure
The better you prepare ahead of hurricane season, the easier any future insurance claims will be. You may also need to provide evidence of the property's condition before the damage. That's why it's important to get a detailed Pre-Storm Property Inspection before the Florida storm season begins. Having a qualified expert document your property in its undamaged state will make resolving insurance disputes much easier. An expert Pre-Storm Property Inspection will also spot potential weak points and areas in need of upgrade or repair. Showing that you undertook all reasonable steps to avoid damage to your property can also be helpful if there's a dispute.
Coping with the aftermath of an insurance claim, especially a major storm, hurricane or flood is never easy. It's a stressful time and it's easy to let some things slide while you try to come to terms with the situation. By familiarizing yourself with the terms of your policy now, you'll be less likely to miss important deadlines if the worst happens.
Florida is well-known for being a hurricane hot spot, with an average of 14 hurricanes or big storms per year. This means that you need to be adequately prepared for storm season. As well as physical preparations, that means arranging a pre-storm inspection. An inspection is necessary to document the condition of your home, business, or rental property, helping you to plan for the hurricane season and to avoid future insurance disputes. To be sure that documentation is complete and thorough, you need the services of someone who understands the importance of a proper inspection. At Reliant, we have the expertise to provide you with the detailed documentation you need.
Perhaps the most important reason for a pre-storm inspection is to document your property's current condition. You'll need this kind of detailed independent evaluation in case you should have a property damage insurance claim down the road.
While possible weak spots and likely causes of future storm damage may be easy for the layperson to identify, this isn't always the case. With a detailed expert evaluation, you'll be able to identify the elements of your property that should be repaired, enhanced, or protected ahead of the storm season. This kind of proactive preparation can go a long way towards minimizing the impact of Florida's hurricanes and storms on your property. By correcting any pre-existing issues, you can get ahead of potential insurance disputes regarding pre-existing damages when you need to make a claim.
If the worst happens and you need to make an insurance claim for storm damage, you need to be well prepared. Suppose you are unable to present your insurance company with detailed and impartial evidence of your property's condition and value before the storm. In that case, it can be challenging to resolve insurance disputes in your favor. Without documentation, it can also be hard to prove that you've done everything you can to resolve pre-existing conditions and protect your property from storm damage, making insurance disputes more likely.
Storm damage can be a major headache for any Florida property owner. We at Reliant can help you take some of the stress out of hurricane season with a full Pre-Storm Inspection Report.
When you make a property damage insurance claim, documenting that damage is very important early on in the claim. Not only is photographing and showing the damage important, but having a 3d virtual tour of your property is essential.
We have added the Matterport 3D Camera to our arsenal of tools for all our property inspections which provides an amazing 3D image of your damaged property that you can walk through with the click of a mouse. This amazing technology amplifies our ability to provide the extreme attention to detail that we provide for all our services.
In today’s technological world, what better way to present your property damage to the insurance company than with a virtual tour of your property! This is an added bonus that we include with all our estimates of damage.
Yesterday, we met with our client that has a two-story home with a complicated floor plan. Being able to provide this link to the insurance company and showing the damage in this capacity will certainly help settle their claim more efficiently. Not only can you walk through the home, but you can click on “tags” that we add to the floorplan that allows you to zoom in on damaged areas of the building. This eliminates any possibility that the insurance company “missed” an area that was damaged during their inspection or “wasn’t shown” a particular portion of the damage.
We leave nothing to chance when presenting a claim to an insurance carrier. We are always searching for new ways to make sure that our clients get the very best representation for their property damage claims and make sure that they get paid everything they are entitled to. That’s why you can “Rely on Reliant!”
The Difference Between an Insurance Claims Appraiser and an Insurance Claims Umpire
When you make an insurance claim, you always hope that things will go smoothly. Ideally, you would file your claim, an insurance adjuster would inspect the damage and write an estimate for the cost of repairs. You would then receive the amount needed to repair your damaged property.
Unfortunately, it doesn't always work this way. An insurance adjuster may not always agree with the policyholder as to the value of the claim. Sometimes the amount offered by the insurance company might be significantly lower than what the policyholder making a claim might have expected. In some cases, your policy will have an alternative dispute resolution process where you can dispute the claim and try to get the insurance company to pay more for your damages.
If there's a dispute over an insurance claim, there are various ways to resolve the situation. One way to move forward is to invoke the appraisal clause in the insurance policy. In this example, both the policyholder and the insurance company designate an individual to serve as their appraiser for the claim. Both appraisers meet at the property to inspect the damages and discuss the differences between the two estimates and try to come to an agreement. If they are unable to do so, a third party called an umpire, is called in to make a final decision and resolve the dispute.
The umpire must be competent to make such a decision, with in-depth knowledge of property dispute resolutions, which relate to the kind of claim being disputed. The umpire must also be disinterested and impartial and not be connected in any way to either the insurance company or the policyholder who is making the claim. The insurance claims umpire will meet both appraisers at the property and listen to both of their positions on why they feel they are correct.
The umpire will then render a decision which is binding and final. Both the policyholder and the insurance company have to accept the result. That is why it is important to choose an expert insurance claims appraiser, and if needed, an umpire who can make a fair claims settlement.
We are Certified Insurance Appraisers and Umpires (CPIAU) and have the knowledge and expertise having handled many claims dispute resolutions throughout our careers.
The Difference Between Insurance Adjusters, Independent Insurance Adjusters and Public Insurance Adjusters
An insurance adjuster is somebody who is tasked with investigating insurance claims. The ones who work for insurance companies can be desk adjusters (also called claims examiners) and field adjusters. It is the field adjuster's responsibility to visit your property and inspect the damages. They will gather information about your claim, take pictures of the loss and prepare an estimate of how much the damage is worth. Once that is completed, they will submit their report to the desk adjuster for review.
The desk adjuster will review all the documentation submitted by the field adjuster in order to determine if the claim is covered. They may ask you for additional information about your claim or ask you to provide a recorded statement to provide facts about the claim. Once their investigation is complete, they will create a report with a recommendation on how much the insurance company should pay.
Independent Insurance Adjusters
Independent insurance adjusters perform the same function as a field adjuster but are not employees of the insurance company. They work for themselves or an adjusting company contracted by the insurance company. Although independent adjusters are not permanent employees of an insurance company, they still work for insurers rather than policyholders and represent the interests of the insurance company.
Public Insurance Adjusters
Public insurance adjusters are also known, confusingly, as private insurance adjusters. We do the same job as a field adjuster and a desk adjuster combined. We work solely for you, the policyholder, not the insurance company. Our job is to protect your interests and make sure that the insurance company pays the proper amount for your insurance claim.
We review your insurance policy and inspect the damages to make sure you have a covered loss. We take copious notes and photographs and prepare an itemized damage estimate to properly document the amount you are entitled to under your insurance policy and that all coverages are accounted for.
Getting expert help from a public insurance adjuster will not only save you from dealing with the insurance company on your own, but will result in the best possible outcome for you claim no matter the size and type of damage to your property.
There have been so any times that I enter a home and there is a weird odor that gets more prominent as you walk into the kitchen. I look around and the home is clean, sink empty and clean, no food or garbage is noticeable. What could that smell be?
In south Florida, sink disposals are in almost every kitchen. You use it regularly and probably rinse it after every use, but there always seem to be an odor emanating from it and you cannot figure out why. Let me explain.
When you use your disposal, there are always remnants of food particles that adhere to the underside of the rubber and to the metal neck (upper part) of the disposal right beneath the rubber. No matter how many times you rinse or clean your disposal, the odor will not leave.
Here are important tips to rid your disposal of any odor and keep your home smelling fresh and clean. These can also help you avoid a potential blockage in your disposal which could lead to water damage to your kitchen cabinets:
Always stay safe while cleaning your disposal and do not place your hands down into the main part of the disposal. Wishing you a safe and happy holiday.
As Covid-19 has affected so many families throughout our country, it is important to remember those that are struggling in our communities. Those that have lost their jobs, cannot feed their families nor pay for the necessities of housing, water and electric.
I have always made it my mission, not just professionally, but personally as well, to always help others. I have been this way since I was a child and helping children is my primary focus.
I recently learned about a family where both parents lost their jobs after Covid and they were living out of their car with two young children. Although we help all year round, I was unable to stop thinking about this family when I learned of another family needing help.
For any child left to wonder how they will eat or have basic needs met, just tears at my heart. I had a discussion with some friends who also wanted to help a family in need. With a collective effort of shopping, we were able to help these families with gift cards, gas cards, clothing and toys for the children. I know I certainly slept better that night.
Paying it forward and giving back is so important. If you can, please make a difference in the lives of others by contacting your local food banks and charities and donate what you can or volunteer where needed. No matter the size of your donation, donating to help those in need certainly makes a difference.