Residence of Florida’s Panama City, Mexico City, Tallahassee and all the areas currently effected by Hurricane Michael. I am a thirty year veteran in disaster relief and recovery. Seeing the commercial and residential property damage effected by hurricane damage is tragic. The very next disaster the area is facing are the bad deals made while you are confused and disorientated because of the storm damage in your life. This article will be ignored by many loss victims that could avoid problems but feel they know it all. The smart policy holders dealing with a property claim understand the power of knowledge. The only thing I have done professionally for thirty years are insurance claims. I am a court recognized property loss expert. I am a public adjuster and general contractor. I do insurance claim loss appraisals and I am hired by property casualty attorneys to investigate insurance claims. I say this because my views matter.
Nothing good comes from moving into a disaster recovery where everything you do has consequences if you do not have a recovery plan. It’s my best advice to create and follow a recovery plan. Policyholders are signing complicated contracts that have terms they are unaware of that can haunt them far beyond the negative effects of wind, water or fire damages. The disaster hit areas in Florida are saturated with predators after your insurance money. None have your interest above their own. Oddly, most of the players in this hustle dress in suits and overalls. Everyone says they want to help, but for a piece of the action. Don’t get me wrong I am also a professional, but I believe that policy holders are more than a pay check. Truth be told, common sense and your own intuition will be your best advocate. Be very clear no matter what a sales person told you, someone is counting how much of your money they will end up with. Once you enter into contracts, the results can be devastating and irreversible. These services using assignment of benefits with your insurance claims, many times add to your problems. Insurance companies and the storm event are bad enough and now having to sift through the sea of advertisements is daunting. Your insurance was intended to make you whole to the point you paid for coverage. All the takers advertising their help was not part of your insurance coverage, but replacing furniture, paying for shelter, and providing repair funds were.
The best way to avoid being taken advantage of is to get educated. Because my intentions are to truly help I wrote an insurance claim manual to help bring some sense to this puzzle. Nothing can replace years of hands-on experiences but this manual will get you thinking at a minimum. It’s important to quit signing contracts until you have a plan. All insurance companies make strategic plans on how they will handle each disaster to place themselves in the best financial position possible; so should you. Despite all the advertisements about how your insurance company will treat you fairly, the truth is they will treat you the way you let them. After all insurance companies are a for profit business. There are no feelings tied to money other than everyone wants some. Your insurance company has money but they prefer to keep as much of it as they can. Every insurance company has its own corporate culture unique to them, in addition to policy terms & conditions, state building codes, insurance laws, and the personality of the persons your claim is assigned all affect how your recovery will end. With all that said, it’s important you are consistently cooperating with your duties as an insured person. My claims manual helps you identify not only your obligations as a claimant but helps you understand the core functions of everyone involved in your recovery. You really get one chance to get your claim material right. Don’t mess it up, read “The Road to Recovery Starts Here”.
With so many voices which one is right for you? My best advice is to read my insurance claims manual. Bad faith attorneys, claims adjusters, roofers, mold abatement, contractors, landscapers or any combination of above are after your insurance money. Oddly they all have a place, however you should be in control knowing when to use them. That will only happen if you get educated. Read my claim manual.
The book will explain how much of the claims process you should do and when to seek help and who to reach out to. Getting the sequence of experts working in unison is the real trick, that comes from experience. The process isn’t really complicated once someone explains it to you. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe anyone will recover fully from their insurance company without professional help. Handling a property claim is much like playing chess. There are pieces that are strategically played. The more you play the better you get. It’s critical that you do your part and understand your own limitations and understand all roles of all the players you might need. If you do not have a plan you will waste a lot of money and possibly lose what was once your life as you knew it permanently, good or bad. My team helps design custom recovery plans and discuss what your life goals are. We explain how to get the mortgage company to cooperate in releasing your insurance repair money. How selling your asset could affect you or even paying off your mortgage with insurance money. Understanding how to best position yourself will involve you having basic claim knowledge.
I truly hope any one that finds this information benefits from the information in it. It was a sincere work authored from my heart.