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.
It’s amazing how fast this year has gone in light of the events we have all faced. December is such a festive time of year and I see that so many more homes are being decorated with holiday lights as I drive around different communities in south Florida.
As I love to always help others and provide safety tips whenever possible, this time of year is especially important because so many of us have the mindset that “it won’t happen to me”. Keeping your loves ones and property safe is important and I wanted to give you these helpful tips to avoid a fire loss if you decorate for the holiday season:
1. Before lighting the candles on your menorah, clear the surrounding are from any flammable materials and place your menorah on a glass or ceramic dish or tray.
2. Inspect electrical decorations and extension cords for damage or exposed wires and make sure they are labeled with a safety certification.
3. Always keep your tree watered daily to avoid drying.
4. Never overload electrical outlets.
5. Use battery operated candles whenever possible.
6. Never leave your kitchen unattended while cooking and baking.
7. If you are using a fryer, keep your surroundings clear from any flammable items, wear a fire safe apron and gloves. Never put your face or body over the fryer.
8. Never pour cooking oil down your sink drains, disposal or toilets. Cool the oil and put in a sealed container and discard in a trash container.
9. Always unplug, turn off and extinguish all decorations when going to bed.
10. While using your fireplace, place a protective screen in front and make sure there are no lit ambers before discarding.
From our homes to yours, we want to wish all of our clients, colleagues, friends and families a very happy, healthy and safe holiday season.
Have you ever had a property damage insurance claim where your home, or the property you rent to others, was unlivable as a result of the damage or the repairs needed? There is coverage in your insurance policy which is listed as Additional Living Expenses (ALE) or Loss of Use.
ALE is an important coverage that comes into play when you cannot reside at your property during the repairs that have to be made and temporary living accommodations are needed. Most insurance companies state that your property has to be uninhabitable for this coverage to apply.
So, what deems your property uninhabitable? There are many reasons you may lose use of part of your property during repairs, including the amount of rooms affected by the damage, the type of repairs being done and your health or other factors.
Depending on the insurance company, they will either set up temporary housing and pay the housing expenses directly, or they will require that you first incur (pay) the expenses, then submit your invoices. They will then reimburse you for the extra expenses that are over and above your normal and customary living expenses.
For example, if you pay a monthly mortgage or you are mortgage free and incur hotel expenses, the hotel expenses are considered over and above and are reimbursable by the insurance company. If you incur additional gas because your commute to work increases, the increased cost of gas/mileage is reimbursable. If your food expense increases, the amount incurred over and above what you would normally pay for food is reimbursable. With our knowledge and expertise, we prepare and submit a detailed report of your expenses so there is never any question what you are owed by your insurance company.
If you own a rental property and your tenant is unable to reside at the property, the insurance company will pay the Fair Rental Value. If you were to lose your tenant as a result of the damage due to the length of time needed for repairs, the insurance may reimburse you for the portion of the lease that was lost and for the amount of time you will be unable to rent the property to others during repairs.
Lastly, we often times see that there is limited coverage for this expense. In the event of a large or catastrophic loss, depending on the type of accommodations and length of time needed, you can exhaust your coverage limit quickly. It is always important to review your policy to make sure you are properly covered.
Thanksgiving is a festive time of year to enjoy delicious food and time spend time with our families and loved ones. Cooking and baking are an essential part of the holiday and we never think anything will happen. Do you know that many property damage claims and injuries can result from unexpected accidents while cooking and preparing for the holidays?
Here are some safety tips that you may not think about, but they can help to avoid injury and property damage:
If you are traveling during these trying times of Covid, we wish you safe travels. Because you may be unaware of the sanitizing process in many public places, the unknown can create unnecessary stress. It is important to remember to where a mask, social distance, wash your hands as much as possible and to keep hand sanitizer or alcohol wipes/spray with you at all times. This will not only help to protect you and your loved ones, but it can also help protect those who are more vulnerable with pre-existing health issues.
From our homes to yours, we wish you a very safe, happy and healthy Thanksgiving!
As Tropical Storm Eta passed through South Florida, many home and business owners sustained property damage from flooding and roof leaks that left them with interior damages to their property. Do you know if your insurance policy covers property damage?
My friend owns a business and leases a large warehouse with office space and a showroom in Boca Raton, FL. He called me in a panic that the showroom and office were flooded and expensive gym equipment was sitting in water. When I arrived, it was worse than what he explained. Wet ceiling tiles had fallen on all the machines and the ceiling tiles, walls and wood flooring were damaged. I quickly began photographing all the damage before the clean up began.
As he was searching for his insurance policy, I began reviewing his lease, and although he is a tenant, he is responsible for all damages to the interior of the building. The landlord is only responsible for the roof and exterior of the building.
The showroom houses expensive gym equipment that has to be stored in air conditioned climate controlled space until delivered and set up in his client’s gym’s. Essentially, he is the go between from the manufacturer delivering the equipment to him and then he delivers the equipment and sets up his client’s gyms. The equipment was scheduled to be installed within a week or so once the buildout of his customer's space was completed.
He handed me his policy and as I read “Commercial Property – No Coverage” I thought this must be a mistake. I then realized it was a general liability policy which would protect him while working in his business or in his client’s business only. I thought he handed me the wrong policy, but it was the only policy he had. I wasn’t sure how I was going to break the news to him that he wasn’t covered and when I did I thought he was going to explode!
When his agent researched insurance for his business, he never asked to see his lease and therefore never knew that my friend as the tenant, was solely responsible for property damage inside the building. An insurance agent should ask you questions and review any documentation to help secure the right insurance policies for your home or business.
We provide comprehensive pre-loss property inspections for home and businesses which includes a FREE insurance policy review. Contact us here for more information on the affordable packages we provide.