Mostyn Law has helped people across the United States recover from catastrophic storms like Hurricane Michael. Our experience has made us a national leader in storm litigation. We’ve served as Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel in 10 different specialized storm courts helping to resolve cases for thousands of people.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected, and we’d like to offer 7 helpful tips for effectively and efficiently handling your insurance claims.
1. Promptly file a claim.
Contact your agent and/or your insurance company directly and reported any and all damage caused by Hurricane Michael. After doing so, you should receive a claim number.
2. Allow an Inspection.
Your insurance company should assign an adjuster to your claim. That adjuster should contact you and schedule an inspection of your property. During the inspection, you should pointed out all areas of damage (and potential areas of damage) and any damaged contents to the adjuster. Provide photographic proof of the damage if the adjuster was unable to inspect the item in person.
3. Review their decision.
Review the insurance company’s estimate and understand what your insurance company has agreed to cover and what price they are willing to pay for said damage. Also make note of any items they are denying coverage for. Get your own estimate(s) from a reputable contractor and compare it with your insurance company’s estimate. Just because the insurance company doesn’t pay for something or underpaid on something, doesn’t mean you must accept their decision or price. Challenge any denials or pricing that you do not agree with in writing.
4. If you’re not happy, tell them!
Notify the insurance company in writing that you’re not happy with the outcome of your claim. You can mail this to your insurance company, or you can email your adjuster or claim representative. Be sure to be specific! Tell them the amount you think you’re owed and why.
5. Back up your position.
Provide your insurance company with photographic evidence, estimates, and receipts supporting your position. Point out price discrepancies and missed items. Remember, document, document, document! You must give them a legitimate (documented) reason to pay you more. Be sure any estimate you submit is from a reputable contractor and is itemized.
6. Check to see if you’re entitled to recoverable depreciation.
Some insurance policies allow you to be paid recoverable depreciation, as opposed to actual cash value. Actual cash value is the value of the item at the time it was damaged. Recoverable depreciation, however, is the amount that you actually paid to repair or replace the item minus the actual cash value. At first the insurance company will only pay you the actual case value of the item. However, if you’re entitled to recoverable depreciation, the insurance company will pay you the difference between what you actually paid to repair or replace the item and the actual cash value of the item after you provide them proof that you repaired it.
Are you unsure if your policy allows you to receive recoverable depreciation? Take a look at your policy. If your declarations page says you have an “RCV” policy or if your policy says that the insurance company will pay the actual cash value of the damaged property until actual repair or replacement is completed, then you may be entitled to receive recoverable depreciation. You can also contact your agent if you have any questions about recoverable depreciation or whether you are entitled to it.
If you are entitled to recoverable depreciation, make sure you submit copies of all estimates, invoices, and receipts for the repair work to your insurance company as soon as possible. There are deadlines within your policy that you must meet to receive your recoverable depreciation, so it is important that you submit your proof of repairs as soon as possible.
7. If they don’t pay you what you’re owed, contact us.
Unfortunately, even when you do everything right, insurance companies do not always do the right thing. If you follow the steps above and still do not receive satisfactory results on your claim, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ve helped more than 19,000 people across the United States rebuild after devastating storms just like Hurricane Michael, and we can help you too.
If you feel your claim was wrongfully denied or underpaid, we can help. We will fight aggressively to get you the money you deserve. You may be entitled to thousands more than you’ve been paid. If you need help resolving your claim, call us today at 800.400.4000 or fill out a free case evaluation form and someone from our office will contact you shortly!