Storm Season = Insurance Season

It’s that time again. Storm season. It’s great that storms come with much needed rain but they also come with wind and hail. Wind and hail often cause damage to your property, both home and car. Do you have those items insured? They better be. Not only are you required to have insurance in most cases, but repairs are expensive and you can be left holding the bag. You will need an insurance attorney to help.Whenever your insured property is damaged, document, document, document.  Write down the names and numbers of everyone you talk to. Take tons of pictures of your damaged property. Also be sure to keep a journal of all of the events that led up to and following your property being damaged. Immediately notify your insurer and file a claim. The insurer will be required to start investigating your case right away. There are some important players you need to know to navigate this process and know their roles. The Desk AdjusterThis is the person at the insurance company that you talk to on the phone and/or sends you a letter notifying you that they have been assigned to your claim. They will handle the claim on behalf of the insurance company. They may be nice, but are not your friend. They work for the insurance company and are there to close your claim fast with paying the least amount of money possible.The “Independent” Field AdjusterThe insurer will set up a time for a field adjuster to come by and look at your home or for you to bring your car by the adjuster’s shop. The field adjuster will determine what they think what it will cost to fix (I use that term loosely) your property. They will produce an adjuster’s report. This may look complicated if you have never looked at one. It is almost always lower than what it will actually take to fix the damage appropriately.The field adjuster often does not actually work for the insurance company, but they are far from “independent.” They make estimates for insurance companies. They have to have a reputation for giving friendly estimates or they will no longer get business from insurance companies. That is just a reality of the business so you should not take their estimate at face value. Get it checked out. The insurance company will often try to hide behind the adjuster’s report to avoid paying up.REMEMBER: The field adjuster does NOT determine how much your claim is worth. Your policy may be entitle you to more than just having your property fixed.  With the exception of giving you a copy of the policy, the insurance company is not required to tell you what specific damages you are entitled to unless you specifically ask. I.E. “Does my policy cover personal property in my home/car?” Do not expect them to volunteer this information.The Repair Company/ContractorThis company is should be on your side and often is. They don’t really care who pays for the repairs but are always happy to get an insurance check. Be sure to get a reputable contractor or body shop. Check them out on the Better Business Bureau website ( Mechanics and contractors DO NOT have to be licensed in the State of Texas!!REMEMBER: Your bank or mortgage company may require you to get a contractor that is insured or bonded. It is always a good idea to get an insured and/or bonded contractor.If the contractor’s estimate is higher than the insurance company’s, send them the estimate right away. Sometimes the mechanic/contractor will do that on your behalf.What do I do if the Insurance Company won’t pay enough or won’t pay at all?Do not wait to obtain the legal counsel of an insurance attorney. Did you know that many insurance companies have “special” desk adjusters to deal with lawyers? An experienced insurance lawyer can usually get better results much faster than an unrepresented person.Whatever you do, do NOT delay. You have a responsibility as an insured to cooperate with the insurance company in investigating your claim and to take reasonable steps to protect your property once it has been damaged. The sooner you get legal help once a dispute arises, the faster the attorney can assist you and get you the money you are owed under your policy.If you are in need of legal representation, call us at 817-481-1999 or send an email to [email protected] right now to set up your FREE, no obligation consultation. The insurance company is NOT on your side, but we will be.

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