How to Communicate with an Insurance Adjuster
After you contact your insurer and let them know your home was damaged in the hurricane, they will assign an insurance adjuster to you. This meeting with an insurance adjuster after hurricane damage can be a significant one. The insurance adjuster should contact you, or, in some cases, you will call them after your insurer gives you the contact information. When you contact the insurance adjuster, be sure and ask when they will be able to look at your home. The adjuster may ask for photos of the damage; if so, send them as quickly as possible. The quicker you can do everything asked of you by your insurer, the quicker your claim can hopefully be resolved.
Before the arrival of your insurance adjuster, make sure you do the following:
- Review your insurance policy to familiarize yourself with your hurricane coverage and responsibilities.
- Look over your property carefully to determine whether there is structural damage, making a list of all the damage you can see.
- Thoroughly document everything that is damaged, with as much detail as possible. If you know when you bought something and how much it cost, write it down. If you have a receipt, even better! Do not throw any damaged items away until you have met with the insurance adjuster.
- Take photos and videos of all the damaged items. If you have “before” photos of your home, show those to the insurance adjuster as well.
- Always work with licensed contractors if you must have repairs made before meeting with the insurance adjuster.
What To Do During the Meeting with Your Insurance Adjuster
If you have a trusted contractor, have the contractor meet with you and your insurance adjuster. If your contractor has made emergency repairs, make sure you have receipts for the work, as well as before and after photos. The insurance company will want you to prevent further damage to your home. This means if a portion of your roof was blown off, it is better to have it fixed immediately to avoid more rain coming into your home and creating further damage. Before you remove debris or trees, photograph them for your insurance adjuster.
Your insurance adjuster may offer you a settlement check on this initial visit. Make sure you are both on the same page in that the claim can be reopened when additional damage is discovered. If the check is your “final” payment, it’s better to reject the settlement check until you know just how much it will cost to have your home repaired or rebuilt. You may receive three checks from your insurer: one for the damage to your home, one for your belongings, and a third for additional living expenses you will incur while your home is being repaired. Keep careful track of all correspondence from your insurer.
What Not to Do While Meeting with an Insurance Adjuster
You must understand the role of the insurance adjuster. No matter how friendly they are, the job is to prevent insurance fraud, settle your claim for the lowest amount possible, and settle it quickly. Avoid giving too much information regarding the damage to your property, at least until you have spoken to your attorney. You do not want to provide the adjuster with any reason to deny your claim. Do not sign anything when your insurance adjuster is at your home.
Tell them you want your attorney to look at any paperwork before you sign it. Usually, you should avoid taking the first amount offered for your claim. Insurance adjusters purposefully offer you a lower amount than what is allocated in hopes you accept it. It’s up to you and your attorney to gather compelling evidence and make a counteroffer. Be calm and polite to your insurance adjuster but remember that your goal is to obtain what your claim is worth, in a timely manner.
How an Attorney is Necessary and Beneficial
If you are meeting with an insurance adjuster after hurricane damage, you may still be shaken up about the hurricane and the damage to your home. You are likely scrambling to find a place for you and your family to stay if the damage is extensive, attempting to keep up with work and school and all the ordinary, everyday things we typically deal with. While this meeting may feel like something you do not have time for, it is an extremely important meeting to determine whether you will be paid what your hurricane damage claim is worth.
Peter Diiorio at New Orleans Legal wants to help you through this challenging process. New Orleans Legal knows you may be anxious, stressed, and frustrated about the damage to your home and whether your insurance company will pay you what your claim is worth. Our knowledgeable legal team will be the strong advocate in your corner that will look out for your rights and your future at every turn. Contact New Orleans Legal, LLC today.