What to do after you have been paid?
So you have finally been paid for your insurance claim. Is the process over? Hardly. In a world in which everyone acted in good faith and according to their contractual obligations, then perhaps. But that is often not the case in the world of insurance claims.
Let’s put this into perspective. A Florida insurance company is like any other business out there, it operates to make a profit. The insurance company answers to its officers, board of directors and shareholders. Naturally, the primary concern is the bottom line and profits. Precisely this mentality leads to the underpayment of insurance claims. A penny saved is a penny earned. If the insurance company can get away with paying a little less to you on your claim, those saved funds feed profits.
Get a second opinion: Secure a Public Adjuster
A big mistake that homeowners make is to rely on the insurance company for the correct claim payment. It is easy to cut corners and to pay less by either not paying for certain damages (scope) or not paying enough (amount). For scope, an insurance company could ignore certain areas of the home and avoid paying for damages. Likewise, as to the amount, an insurance company can improperly price the cost for materials or labor and shortchange you for the repairs. Unless you are a construction expert, the only way to protect yourself is to get a second opinion from a licensed Florida public adjuster. A Florida public adjuster uses the same tools and software as the insurance company's adjuster to create an estimate. However, you will often find that the differences between the two estimates can be extreme. Have you been shortchanged? The only way to know if you are being paid the correct amount by the insurance company is to double check their work.
File a Supplemental Claim
If you discover you have been duped by your insurance company, your public adjuster can help you. The public adjuster can protect your rights by filing a supplemental claim on your behalf to make sure you are paid everything that you are owed. There is nothing wrong with filing a supplemental claim when you are owed more money from the insurance company. This is your right and the reason you pay your insurance premiums. The insurance company will not accept your payment of 60% of the premiums, why should you accept their payment of 60% of what you are owed?
About the Author: Patrick Russell, Esq., has been a member of The Florida Bar since 1994 and is an experienced Florida insurance lawyer. Patrick started his insurance law practice more than twenty years ago when he represented homeowners and business owners for their Hurricane Andrew insurance claims. The purpose of this article is educational and not for the solicitation of legal services. The goal is to avoid the mistakes learned from the past, specifically those from previous windstorms. Knowledge is power. Information is free. Mistakes are costly. If you would like more tips on how to process your Florida insurance claim, Patrick can be reached at (305) 608-2977 or here.