AFTER THE FIRE OR WATER
You may be confused and uncertain as to how you will proceed in the preparation and loss adjustment of your claim. We believe the most important concerns you will have after a loss may be:
..What am I being paid for?
..Who will be in control of my money for the losses I sustained?
..Is it possible that I collect additional money after my claim is settled?
..What is the difference between Replacement Cost or Actual Cost Value?
..What steps do I take to prepare and submit my claims for payment?
..What is a statement of Loss and Claim?
..What is a Guaranteed Replacement Cost or Replacement Cost Policy?
..What are my obligations under the policy after loss occurs?
Fire and Water damage disrupts the normal pattern of life, and can involve a lot of emotional stress. People often feel confused and vulnerable after events of this type. However, it is important to make good decisions, because you will be living with the results long after the stress and confusion have passed.
As Public Insurance Adjusters we believe that the public interest is best served if people have an understanding of their rights and the alternatives available to them, when insurance damage and repair work are involved. As Public Insurance Adjusters we have prepared this BILL OF RIGHTS so that you may better understand the policy you have purchased, and how it is related to the repairs you may undertake.
INSURANCE DAMAGE REPAIR BILL OF RIGHTS
1. You may take, and be fully compensated for the cost of emergency steps to
safeguard your property from further damage after a loss. ..In fact, you have an
obligation to do so under the terms of your policy. The insurance company may not be
liable for additional expenses if you fail to provide such protection.
2. If you have secured adequate coverage, you are entitled to be paid for the fair cost
of fully restoring your home to its pre-damage condition. However, if you do not
choose to employ such a firm, the consequences and liability for any injury, damage,
or other action may rest with you.
3. You are entitled to employ a firm with sufficient experience and stability in the
community to stand behind its work and warranty responsibilities. The repair
contract and its performance is strictly between you and the contractor. Your insurance
company does not warrant or guarantee the performance of any firm you hire
4. You are entitled to materials and workmanship fully equivalent to your existing
installation in like kind and quality. The insurance company has no obligation to
improve your existing installation, of course.
5. You are not required to accept the lowest bidder, nowhere in your policy do the
words cheapest, low, or lowest price occur. However, repair rates should
correspond to prevailing standards in your area for work of good quality.
6. You are entitled to receive a detailed listing of the scope of repairs and quantities
of materials to be provided, before work begins. Also, provision for hidden or
latent problems relating to the damage should be spelled out in as much detail possible.
7. You are entitled to and should reject any contract that does not incorporate all
Federal, State, and Local requirements for residential construction work.
However you must be familiar with these requirements in order to enjoy the
protection the law provides. Ask a Certified Public Adjuster for this important
8. You are entitled to select a firm who can demonstrate skill and experience in
insurance damage as a full time professional service. Ask for references,
credentials, and association memberships that indicate professional training and
status in insurance repair, as contrasted with ordinary home improvement work.
9. If substantial disagreement arises between you and the insurance company over
the amount of the loss, you are entitled to request Arbitration (Appraisal) as
described under the terms of the policy. Lines 123- 140 of the standard
homeowners policy spell out these procedures for settling differences without
resorting to lawsuit. The company is also entitled to this provision, which may
be invoked at any time prior to settlement, whether or not you have received
10.You are entitled to receive payment from the insurance company within the
time specified by the policy and your State Insurance Regulations, which are
designed to prevent insurance companies from using delay and personal
hardship to compel a lower settlement. However, the policy also has time
requirements for the policyholder, within which you must prepare and submit
your claim. Ask your adjuster or agent about these at the outset, so that you can
be in compliance.
SINCE YOU ARE THE POLICYHOLDER, ONLY YOU CAN DEMAND THAT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY LIVE UP TO ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE POLICY. As licensed Independent (Public) Insurance Adjusters, we recommend that you do so, out of a strong conviction that fair dealings, good workmanship, and ethical business practices benefit the insurance industry just as they benefit the public at large.