After being involved in an accident that results in the entire loss of your vehicle, the insurance adjuster will visit the scene to evaluate the extent of the damage. These individuals have been exposed to everything; thus, there is virtually nothing you can do to throw them off their game.
Or does it not exist? The following are five techniques that may be used to coerce insurance adjusters into paying more than they would have been willing to do otherwise.
1. Get property damage estimates
When speaking with an insurance adjuster, you have the option of obtaining either an independent estimate or a corporate estimate. Both of these kinds of estimates have their advantages and disadvantages.
Independent estimators are not affiliated with any one specific insurance provider, and in exchange for their services, they charge a flat cost that ranges anywhere from $200 to $1,000. It is often in your best advantage to get one of these quotations before you speak with an adjuster from a certain insurance company.
This is due to the fact that they do not stand to earn anything by exaggerating the severity of your losses. If you don’t want strangers rummaging around your house or apartment, you may want to think about having an estimate prepared by a computer instead. HomeAdvisor offers estimates starting at only $59, and even their most basic estimate is usually sufficient for property damage claims.
They will not come out to your location, but they will still be able to offer a rough estimate of the costs involved in repairing specific aspects of the property.
Nevertheless, if you decide to hire a face-to-face independent estimate, you should make sure that he or she is familiar with the standards used in the business and is aware of how much it should cost to replace each component of your home (or repair).
In such a case, you run the risk of having to pay a far higher amount for your claim than is really required.
2. Take pictures of everything
Take photographs of everything, even if you are certain that nothing was broken in the incident, just to be safe. When communicating with your insurance carrier, having this will serve as a visual reference for you.
Use your mobile phone instead of a camera if you don’t have one on hand, and be sure to take pictures from a variety of perspectives.
You may also record any damage on paper. Just make sure it’s readable! Make a note of any serial numbers or other identifying markers that are on products that have been shattered. This information will be helpful in proving ownership and will speed up the process of replacing stuff.
In addition, if you are unclear as to whether or not a particular item ought to be covered by your insurance, you should consult with your agent for guidance.
They should be able to inform you whether or not certain repairs are covered under an existing policy, as well as how much you will be responsible for paying out of pocket for those repairs.
The adjuster will ask a variety of questions, including the following: Asking inquiries and keeping an eye out for warning signs are two of the skills that an adjuster is taught to have.
Because it is their duty to ask a lot of questions, they are going to demand answers to all of them, even if they seem to be repetitive (for instance, what time did it happen?, Where did it happen? How did it happen?). You shouldn’t be afraid to repeat yourself, though; a skilled adjuster will go over every detail at least twice.
3. Document things like cracks in the wall
You may often frighten an insurance adjuster into swiftly settling for less by meticulously documenting all of your items, particularly those that may be difficult to replace. This is something you should do if you are filing a claim for damage to your property.
For instance, if there are fractures in your wall, you should photograph them and make a note of where they are located. If there is a mark on your ceiling or floor, obtain a measuring tape and be very certain that you know the precise dimensions of the mark. This may assist guarantee that your claim is paid out at a value that is as near as possible to what it is really worth. Additionally, be sure to maintain meticulous records of the items that were harmed.
When you initially become aware that anything is amiss with your belongings, document the situation by taking photographs and videos. Notate the times and dates when items occurred (for example, that crack appeared after I dropped my camera).
Also, make sure that you save all of the receipts for the things that you purchase to remedy the damage that was caused by another person. You will need these receipts when you file a claim with your insurance company. The most essential thing to do is to get in touch with your insurer as soon as possible to submit any claims; the majority of plans require you to do so within the first 24 hours.
Remember that you should have everything recorded well before the claims adjuster comes at your door. The majority of insurance will send someone to examine your case who is called a claims adjuster.
4. Look at home value calculators online
You may find it easy, but it is possible to get a rough estimate of how much your house is worth. Enter your address into one of these calculators, and then evaluate the result in light of the amount that you are currently responsible for paying toward your mortgage.
There is a possibility that the value of a claim will rise if there is a significant disparity between them.
Homeowners who have filed insurance claims have been known to use strategies similar to this one in an effort to reduce their premiums or stay free of further costs.
Simply looking up the house’s street location on the internet is all that is required to discover the precise amount of coverage that was purchased for a certain residence. There are a lot of huge insurance companies, like State Farm, that provide homeowner’s guides that are simple to access and that give actual cash values for each area and kind of structure (apartment versus single family).
Remember that, according to federal law, using the satellite view on Google Maps is against the law, therefore you shouldn’t go there! It is against the law in the United States to use GPS coordinates to find personal information, and doing so might result in fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 for each offense. Searching for an amount of a comparable kind, however, might not get you in trouble.
When communicating with adjusters over the phone or over email, you should avoid asking for any additional personal information like names or Social Security numbers since doing so is against the law and a violation of privacy regulations.
However, even without any personally identifiable information, adjusting companies still heavily rely on government databases that track everything from local crime statistics to tax records. These databases are all publicly available resources that help inform the decision-making processes associated with claims. Therefore, there’s no reason not to employ those same tools.
Another useful piece of advice is that you should not wait until a catastrophe has occurred before reviewing your coverage. You can always ask your agent questions anytime you believe it is appropriate to do so.
5. Go over your policy with an attorney who specializes in homeowners’ policies.
What you say to an insurance adjuster will be the primary factor used to form his or her opinion on your claim. Be careful to have a legal professional examine your policy and provide you with advice on precisely what it covers and the amount of money you may anticipate receiving from it.
Be aware that the adjuster is searching for methods to reduce the amount of your loss, and that as a result, he or she will pay attention to how much of a fight you put up with them when deciding how much of a fight to put up with them.
Take care to avoid dropping any indications about whether or not you intend to file a claim at any point in the future. If there is anything in your home that has sentimental worth, you shouldn’t mention it to the insurance company since, in general, they won’t pay out for goods that are considered sentimental.
Also, if you are thinking about how much specific things might cost to replace, don’t share that information with anybody; many insurance companies will only pay out claims for the item’s real monetary worth (and they may even deny them).
However, if there are items in your house that aren’t covered by your policy, such as jewels or furs, then you should let them know as soon as possible; otherwise, they could not cover such losses at all.
The earlier you provide them with as much information as possible, the better off you will be in the long run. Do not overlook the importance of asking your attorney questions such as, “How do I submit a claim?” What kinds of paperwork am I going to need?
When can I expect to get my check, and how long will it take? When I make my payment, will interest be added to it? What happens if my property isn’t covered by the insurance coverage that I purchased? Before you ever contact an insurance provider, you need to have answers to these questions as well as any ones that may arise.
Keep in mind that insurance companies earn money off of you when they pay you an amount that is lower than the amount it would cost you to replace your belongings. Use your head in this situation! Don’t give them the satisfaction of taking advantage of you with their overpriced charges.
Get as many quotations as possible. Investigate the difference between the cost and the replacement value. Don’t get taken advantage of.