What If My Property Damage Claim Is Undervalued?
Posted in Insurance on May 20, 2020
Property damage insurance is something millions of home and business owners pay for each month in case of unexpected disasters. If something does happen, such as a robbery or hurricane, property insurance can pay for your damages. The insurance claim process, however, can be complicated and overwhelming for the average policyholder. As a claimant, you may have to deal with issues such as an adjuster undervaluing your damages.
Document the Value of Your Claim
Start your property damage claim with a clear understanding of how much your damages are actually worth. Go to a professional for a damage evaluation rather than relying only on the insurance company’s assessment. You may use a real estate appraiser, mechanic, or another party depending on the type of property in question. Obtaining a professional assessment from an unbiased third party could allow you to accurately estimate your losses. With this information in hand, you will be able to recognize if an insurance company is undervaluing your property damages.
Know Your Policy
Next, read your property insurance policy thoroughly to understand your coverage. Read the fine print or take it to a property insurance claim attorney for a more in-depth review. It is important to understand your policy so you can better negotiate with the claims adjuster. Otherwise, you might not recognize when the adjuster is breaching your contract or treating you unfairly. The adjuster might be offering the maximum amount your policy limit permits, for example, even if it does not seem like enough to cover your property damages.
Contest the Low Offer
Undervaluing a client’s losses is a common tactic an insurance company may use to minimize its financial liability and enhance profitability. Offering less than your damages are worth might be an intentional ploy to save the insurance company money. However, it could also be an honest oversight. Insurance adjusters often take multiple claims per month. They are busy and may not have all the facts of your case. The adjuster might have missed something during an inspection of your property or a review of the documents. The adjuster might have also misread your policy.
Protect your interests by contesting the undervalued offer. You always have the option of contesting an insurance company’s offer, whether the insurance company made a mistake or is intentionally trying to lowball you. Contest an offer by presenting the documents and evidence you received during your third-party property evaluation. This can help you prove the full value of your claim to the insurance adjuster. Provide additional photographs of the property damage as well as any witness statements or repair estimates. You may also request a reevaluation by the insurance company.
Hire an Insurance Dispute Lawyer
If the insurance company still does not come back with a more reasonable offer, it may be time to hire an attorney. A Tampa insurance dispute lawyer could help you go up against a claims adjuster during settlement negotiations for a more reasonable outcome. Professional negotiations with an attorney can improve your chances of obtaining fair and full compensation for your property damages. Hiring a lawyer could enable you to resolve your property damage insurance claim for the amount you require for full repairs.
An insurance lawyer can also initiate an insurance bad faith lawsuit if he or she finds evidence of the claims adjuster treating your case unfairly or unlawfully. A bad faith suit could result in additional compensation in the form of interest payments and/or penalties against the insurance company. It could also hold the insurance company accountable for failing to treat your property damage claim in good faith. Work with a lawyer from the beginning of your property damage claim in Tampa for the best odds of receiving fair compensation.