Dealing with an insurance adjuster after suffering a loss can be overwhelming and confusing. As a policyholder, you should give your insurance company and their claims adjuster time to investigate your claim.
While it’s good to assume the best intentions on the part of the claims adjuster, it’s important to remember that they work for your insurance company. Therefore, the adjuster may be incentivized to protect the insurance company’s financial interests instead of fairly compensating you for your losses.
If your insurer is acting in bad faith, making unreasonable requests or giving you a lowball offer, contact an experienced insurance law firm as soon as possible. At Tighe P.A., our property insurance attorneys have a history of securing successful outcomes for our clients, no matter how big or small the insurance company.
Call our law firm today for a free consultation. We’ve got your back.
What is the Role of an Insurance Adjuster?
An insurance adjuster works for the insurance company to assess the damages and losses a policyholder suffered. A claims adjuster is responsible for determining the amount of money the insurance company will pay for a claim. They’ll review your policy, investigate your losses, and negotiate with you or your insurance lawyer to reach a settlement.
When to Hire a Public Adjuster
If you feel overwhelmed or unsure about the insurance claims process or believe your insurance company is acting in bad faith, you should consider hiring an independent adjuster.
Public adjusters are independent claims adjusters who work on behalf of policyholders to help them navigate the insurance claims process. In Florida, independent insurance adjusters are trained to understand insurance policies and assist policyholders in preparing and negotiating claims with insurance companies.
How to Prepare for the Insurance Adjuster’s Arrival
You can take several steps to prepare for the arrival of the insurance claims adjuster. Start by making a list of your damaged items and property. By giving this list to the adjuster, you give them a better chance to accurately assess your losses and damages. Other steps you can take include:
Understand Your Insurance Policy
You should understand the terms and conditions of your insurance policy before the insurance claims adjuster arrives. This will help you know what’s covered and what’s not under your policy and will allow you to make informed decisions about your claim. If you have any questions about the coverage included in your policy, feel free to ask your insurance company for clarification.
Document and Inventory Your Damage
Before the insurance adjuster arrives, it’s important to document and inventory the damages you suffered. You should take photos or videos of the damage and make a list of all items that were lost or destroyed. This documentation will help you provide evidence of the extent of the loss and will also make it easier for the claims adjuster to evaluate your claim.
Use Licensed Contractors for Any Repairs
When making repairs to your property, use licensed contractors to ensure the work is completed to industry standards. You should research and compare different contractors before selecting one to complete the repairs. Look for contractors with a good reputation and experience working with insurance claims.
Obtain prior approval from your insurer in non-emergency cases
Your insurance policy may need you to get permission before performing repairs. In non-emergency situations, it’s a good idea to obtain prior approval from your insurer before making any repairs to your property. If you fail to do so, you may be giving your insurer grounds to deny or limit coverage.
Some emergency remediation and repairs cannot wait. If you can’t get prior approval, be sure to thoroughly document your damage with photos, videos, and estimates.
Keep your receipts
Keeping all receipts and documentation related to the damages and repairs is crucial. This includes receipts for temporary housing, temporary repairs, and any other expenses related to the damages. Having this record will help you demonstrate the costs you incurred and will make it easier for the adjuster to process your claim.
What to Do When the Adjuster Arrives
Often in catastrophic situations, adjusters will try to be helpful, but even the best can be dealing with dozens or hundreds of claims. You should answer the adjuster’s questions to the best of your ability and refrain from providing false or incomplete information, as this can jeopardize your claim. When the adjuster arrives, take the following steps:
Record All Communication
Record all communication with the adjuster to help you keep track of what subjects were discussed and agreed upon. Be sure to put any conversations in writing, preferably via email, and also note any verbal interactions and the person or participants to maintain a clear record.
Respond to Reasonable Requests Promptly
The adjuster may ask you to provide certain information or documents to process your insurance claim. You should try to be as cooperative as possible and respond to reasonable requests for information as quickly as you’re able. If the adjuster asks for something you cannot provide, let them know and explain why you cannot produce the requested item.
How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Respond to My Claim
Insurance companies and insurance claims adjusters are not permitted to ignore claims. Each state has laws regarding the timeframe an insurance company must respond to an insurance claim. When in doubt, work with an attorney who’s familiar with these laws to receive fair financial compensation or pursue legal action against your insurance company.
Statute of Limitations in Florida
Under Florida law (627.70131(1)(a)), insurance companies must respond to a claim within 14 days. Following this, insurance companies have 90 days to decide to either accept or deny a claim. If your insurance company denies your claim, you have five years to file a lawsuit according to Florida’s applicable statute of limitations (95.11(2)(b)).
Statute of Limitations in Louisiana
If you suffered a loss due to a catastrophic event, you have up to 180 days to file a claim with your insurance company under Louisiana law (§1264(A)).
Additionally, your insurance company must deny or accept your claim within a reasonable amount of time and begin an adjustment for a catastrophic property loss within 30 days, according to Louisiana law (§1892(A)(3)). Under Louisiana law (§868(B)), you have two years to pursue a lawsuit against your insurer.
Statute of Limitations in Texas
In Texas, insurance companies are legally required (542.055) to respond to a claim within 15 days. They then have 15 days to accept or deny the claim. If you want to sue your insurance company for a property damage claim, you must do so within two years under Texas law (16.003)
Statute of Limitations in Colorado
Colorado does not impose strict time limits on insurance companies to respond to claims. Instead, Colorado law (§10-3-1104) only requires insurance companies to act with reasonable promptness. Finally, Colorado law (§13-80-102) imposes a two-year statute of limitations on lawsuits involving property damage or breach of contract.
How an Experienced Insurance Lawyer Can Help You
Dealing with an insurance company can be complicated, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the claims process or the laws governing insurance in your state.
Insurance carriers sometimes purposefully make the process even more difficult to discourage or wear down individuals seeking compensation. An experienced insurance attorney can help you navigate the claims process and ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to receive.
Protect your rights in complex cases
In some cases, the claims process can be complex, especially if there are disputes over coverage or the extent of the damages. An insurance lawyer can advise you regarding your options for pursuing legal action against your insurance company and guide you through the claims process.
Filing or appealing your claim
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your claim or believe you have been unfairly denied coverage, you may have the option to file an appeal with your insurance company. An insurance lawyer can assist you with gathering the necessary documentation and representation during the claims process to increase the chances of a successful outcome.
Contact Tighe P.A. for Help with Your Claim
If you are dealing with an insurance adjuster and need help getting the coverage you purchased, do not hesitate to contact Tighe P.A. Our experienced insurance lawyers can help you navigate the claims process for residential and commercial property insurance claims and protect your rights. Contact our law firm today to learn more.