When the unthinkable happens, and your property is damaged, the last thing you want to feel is alone in the fight to get the money needed to restore your home back to normal.
That is where a public insurance adjuster comes in. Public adjusters are meant to be your partners who are looking out for your best interests and work for you not the insurance company. Because they are experts in their field, they should be your go-to resource to help ensure the best possible outcome for your insurance claim.
How to Negotiate a Settlement Using a Public Insurance Claims Adjuster
Public adjusters act as the middleman between you and your insurance company and work directly for you, not the insurance company. Understanding how a public adjuster can help you is important because they are the professionals who know the best practices that can get you the most money possible.
You should hire a public adjuster when filing a property damage insurance claim, especially if there is a large sum at stake. They assist you in properly assessing and documenting the damage, the preparation of a detailed cost estimate to repair the damage, and they will leave no stone unturned to make sure the money you will be receiving includes all the coverages in your policy that are owed.
When confronted with property damage, a lot of people tend to underestimate the cost of repairs. For example, if your windows were shattered in a severe storm, you may only calculate the cost of new windows to replace them.
But, without an experienced public adjuster, you could be leaving out other cost variables such as removing the damaged windows, the cost of the new installation and adjoining materials affected such as wall paint or trim. A public adjuster is an expert in also finding the hidden costs of repairs like these.
Once the preparation is complete, you will work with your public adjuster to file your claim. Typically, public adjusters will handle most of the process, but they will be sure to communicate with you every step of the way.
During the process, if the insurance company refuses to properly settle the claim and you are left with no choice but litigation, you will likely need to hire an attorney to get your claim paid. Unfortunately now, more so than ever before, many property owners find themselves in this situation. Insurance companies are choosing not to settle claims when they should and instead force cases into litigation.
What is insurance litigation?
From the perspective of a policyholder, insurance litigation is the process of taking legal action against your insurer. Depending on the situation, litigation could arise if it becomes clear that the insurance company is not acting in good faith because of unwarranted delays or us refusing to negotiate and settle your claim.
The Role of Homeowners Insurance Companies
What is the insurance company’s role in this process? Typically, their role is to receive the claim, inspect the damage and approve and negotiate claims, but sometimes, this does not happen.
There are times when the insurance company requests documentation that a policyholder is not skilled at preparing which can draw out the claim process. and This may make you feel that there is no one fighting for you after the devastation of having property damaged.
If you feel like you are in this situation and need someone in your corner, Reliant Insurance Adjusters is here for you.
Our skilled professionals with outstanding customer service treat your claims as if they were their own, and they will be by your side every step of the way. You don’t need to do it alone. Reliant is here to help. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.
Do I need flood insurance? If you ask your independent adjuster in Boca Raton, the answer would be yes. This is something that you need to take seriously because floodwaters can cause severe damage to your property if you don’t have an insurance policy to protect you, you’re looking into thousands of dollars’ worth of repair.
Regrets always come last. This is a quote that hundreds of homeowners can relate to after they experienced property damage due to flooding. Some U.S. homeowners who live in flood zone areas are required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to purchase flood insurance, but even those who live in low risk areas can still experience flooding.
Surveys reveal that homeowners who weren’t required to purchase flood insurance didn’t bother to invest in these insurances. Unfortunately, some experience hurricane floods in their area and inevitably felt the emotional and financial devastation after learning how much they’ll need to spend on repairs. If you think about it, flood insurances are your safety net. You may not see its value now, but if it happens to you, you’ll be grateful for investing.
Why Should You Get Flood Insurance?
Flood Insurance is Affordable
One of the reasons why homeowners are discouraged from getting flood insurance is because of the price. Little do they know, insurances for areas that aren’t prone to flooding are extremely affordable.
If your home insurance policy does not include flooding damage, we recommend you add it to your policy whether or not you’re required to get it. Areas that are not considered high-risk can benefit from the affordability of the insurance policies. The rate varies depending on the value of your home and how close or how far it is to a flood plain.
Properties Outside Flood-Prone Areas Aren’t Guaranteed Safe
Certain places are notoriously prone to flooding. If where you currently live has a low flood risk, don’t be too confident. Keep in mind that flood zones are only determined because of past records, but it cannot necessarily predict future conditions.
It’s quite surprising that more than 20% of claims are those that are found outside flood zone areas. You can ask for help from an independent adjuster to find you an affordable flood insurance policy.
Flood Damage Can Be Devastating
If you saw news of homes becoming essentially ruined because of flooding, you know how devastating and catastrophic they can be. If this happens to you and you don’t have flood insurance, your expenses can skyrocket. Paying for a flood insurance policy is nothing compared to the amount you’ll need to shell out to restore your property. The loss can be catastrophic.
Are You Looking for an Independent Adjuster in Boca Raton?
If you are having problems with insurance claims, we can help you. At Reliant Insurance Adjusters, we consider your property like our own. We offer professionalism and dedication unlike any other. We have the resources, knowledge, and experience to get you the best settlement for your claim. For questions, send your inquiry here.
Florida is known for nearly year-round sunshine and sandy coast lines. But Florida weather can bring a lot more than high temperatures and beautiful beach days.
The Sunshine State is also subject to harsh hurricane seasons and stormy weather. Flooding goes hand in hand with both, and floods just happen to be the most common and most expensive natural disaster in the U.S.
With billions of dollars spent each year on flood damage, it should make you wonder whether your home and belongings are protected from flood damage by your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Every insurer and policy are different, but for the most part, flood damage is not included in the average home insurance policy, which means you will likely have to purchase separate flood insurance.
According to this Flood Insurance Guide, “The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) lets you insure your home for up to $250,000 and your personal property (contents) for up to $100,000.
If you rent, you can buy up to $100,000 in coverage for your personal belongings. For non-residential property, you can buy up to $500,000 of coverage for the building and contents.
It is important to know that flood insurance comes with separate deductibles for the building and its contents. Flood insurance doesn't immediately kick in when you sign up. In most cases, there is a 30 day waiting period, and if a storm is heading your way, that will prevent you from buying a policy.
However, there are a few exceptions:
●If your address was newly added to the SFHA map and you buy flood insurance within the 13-month period following a map revision.
● If you're renewing your flood policy and increase your coverage.
●If your home is affected by flooding on burned federal land and you buy a policy within 60 days of the fire's containment.
● If you just bought a house and your lender requires flood coverage.”
Flood Damage Not Covered in Florida Homeowners Insurance
Water damage can result from any number of occurrences, from natural disasters to plumbing leaks. When it pertains to floods though, it is important to understand that flood damage is not usually covered in standard Florida homeowner insurance policies.
If you notice any type of water damage to your property, the first step you should take is to find the source, which may be a broken water heater, burst pipe, sewer line backup, or from roof damage, etc.
Knowing the source helps you understand how best to file your claim. For example, depending on your policy, if the damage is a result of a water heater leak or burst pipe, it will likely be covered by your homeowner’s insurance.
In contrast, if your property is damaged by water coming in from the exterior of your home due to a flood, then it would likely not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy but instead by your flood insurance policy.
Mold often results from water damage if not mitigated in promptly. Again, it is important to find the cause of the mold to help you determine whether to file a claim through your homeowner’s insurance company. In some cases, your homeowner’s insurance company may also provide additional mold coverage options.
Filing a Claim for Flood Damages
Filing any claim, especially for flood damage, can be a complex and lengthy process.
At Reliant Insurance Adjusters, we treat every client’s property claim as if it is our own. Our team is dedicated to providing the professionalism, experience, knowledge and resources to get you the highest possible settlement of your claim. Contact us today to give your claim our personal attention and see the difference we can make.
How do you know if you have a mold problem in your home? When mold is present there’s a good chance you’ll experience a sore, itchy throat, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and irritated skin. Most molds have a strong musty odor, but not all. Molds have different colors and they can range from gray, green, brown, and black. If you suspect that you have a mold infestation in your home and you want to make a mold claim, contact a public adjuster in Broward County for help.
When toxic mold is allowed to thrive, it can cause serious illnesses such as internal organ damage, cancer, and bleeding. Homeowners need to understand that mold growth is more than just an aesthetic issue. Mold will not only destroy your home but will also destroy your health.
Is Mold Detrimental?
What is Mold?
Molds are usually found outside your home. These are organisms that belong to the fungus family. They come in various colors like purple, green, orange, white, and black. Mold grows best in an environment that’s humid, damp, and wet. For mold to grow, water or moisture must be present. The usual places where they show are:
It becomes toxic when mold starts releasing tiny spores into the air. When you have mold in your home, you and your family will be breathing them in daily and this can make everyone in the household sick. If you suspect mold in your home, it would be best if you consult with a public adjuster.
What Are the Different Types of Mold?
Do you know that there are different types of mold? Different mold types can grow in one area and the only way to know the type of mold you have in your home is to have it tested. Regardless of the type, you must get rid of it as soon as possible before it causes major damage to both your health and home.
Cladosporium – This type of mold is green, black, or brown. It grows in both cool and warm places. You will usually find Cladosporium on fabrics, carpets, heating, and cooling ducts, and wood.
Penicillium – This type of mold is yellow, green, or blue and is present in basements, carpets, and insulation where the water damage has occurred.
Aspergillus – This type of mold is gray, white, or green and looks like powder. They thrive in basements, attics, walls, fabric, and even dry food items.
Alternaria – This is a black and white mold that grows on the wallpaper, air conditioners, kitchens, bathrooms, fabric, and near windows.
Aureobasidium – This mold is pink in color peppered with black spots. You’ll commonly find it in grout, caulking, walls, and wood.
How Can Mold Make You Sick?
Mold can compromise your health, especially if you inhale or touch it. People who are constantly exposed to mold suffer from sneezing, coughing, runny nose, eye irritation, sore throat, wheezing, skin rash, lung irritation, and headache. Individuals who have allergies, asthma, COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, cystic fibrosis, and compromised immune system are at higher risk of developing complications.
When to Seek Help From A Public Adjuster in Broward County
Mold removal will only be covered by your insurance company if the source is included in the policy. If the source of the moisture led to mold growth, you will be able to file a mold removal claim as well as repairs for the damage caused by mold.
At Reliant Insurance Adjusters, we treat your property as if it was our own. Our company is dedicated to providing you with the best possible settlement of your claim. Over the years, we’ve received heartwarming feedback from our clients and have seen a growth in client referrals year after year. Get in touch with us to learn more about what we can offer.
Property Insurance Claim Denied - Next Steps
Insurance carriers may be reluctant to pay out insurance claims for several reasons. With the cost of insurance fraud estimated to be around $40 billion each year, quickly catching fraudulent claims is a top priority for them. However, being extra cautious can also sometimes lead to delays and unforeseen obstacles in the property damage insurance claims process.
Three Potential Indicators of Fraudulent Claims
So, what are the indicators that would cause insurance carriers to be suspicious about a potentially fraudulent claim? When you submit a property damage claim, there are a few things your insurance company will evaluate that could get your insurance claim denied.
1. Your Past Claims
If you have submitted several property damage claims in the past, a property insurance claims adjuster will likely dig deep into your history. If they notice patterns in the types of property damage insurance claims you submit or how often you claim a damage or loss, your latest claim may be denied.
2. Your Wider Claim History
Fraudsters often target more than one insurance company in the hopes of attracting less attention. Therefore, as an extra precaution, insurers check data beyond their internal fraud detection systems. For example, some systems enable adjusters to match new claims to those that were part of earlier or multiple other claims. They can also reveal other red flags like special investigations unit activity.
3. Suspicious Loss Indicators
How Stuff Works, lists several Suspicious Loss Indicators that claims adjusters watch out for, including:
While not every claim matching those criteria is fraudulent, insurance claims adjusters may still want to take a closer look.
How Fraud Detection Works
There are several analytical tools available that alert property claims adjusters to potential cases of fraud based on varying Suspicious Loss Indicators. Additionally, Special Investigations Units, private detectives, and even social media may all be used for the detection and prevention of insurance fraud.
If any discrepancies come to light during the investigation process (even if they really are coincidental) it may be challenging to get your insurance company to cover your claim.
Was Your Property Insurance Claim Denied?
Has your insurance company denied your claim, mistakenly deeming it suspicious? Your past claims with that specific carrier, your wider claim history, or even having one of the Suspicious Loss Indicator boxes checked could be to blame.
Settling insurance claims is now, more than ever, a tedious and complex process. At Reliant Insurance Adjusters, we can help you through the complicated claim process and help you recover financially from your loss. Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation and learn more about how we can help you.
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.