Miami Insurance Claim FAQs
Your insurance questions answered by a knowledgeable and experienced Miami property damage insurance claims attorney
Nationally, most people will be involved in a car accident at some point in their lives and may have to deal with their insurance company or the other driver’s insurance, but most people do not find themselves having to file a claim with an insurance company over damage to their residential or commercial property. The likelihood of having a property damage claim is greater in areas of south Florida like Miami, where property owners face dangers ranging from hurricanes to sinkholes and almost always have to deal with water damage of one form or another.
Having to file a claim when you are unfamiliar with the process can be stressful, especially when dealing with an insurance claims adjuster who obviously knows a great deal more about the process than you do. Having knowledge on your side is powerful, so read on for answers to frequently asked questions about property damage insurance claims. If you have a property damage insurance claim in Miami, level the playing field between yourself and the insurance company by calling Miami property damage insurance claims attorney Juan Velasquez at Velasquez & Associates. We’ll answer any questions you have and represent you in all dealings with the insurance company, including initially reporting the claim on your behalf and dealing with any unpleasant surprises along the way.
What does a public adjuster do?
A claims adjuster’s job is to investigate a claim, inspect the damage, document the loss and prepare an estimate for the costs to repair or replace the damage. Insurance companies have their own adjusters who work for them, and there are “independent adjusters” who, although not employed full-time by an insurance company, also work for the insurance company and are more likely to represent the insurer’s interests than yours. A public adjuster, on the other hand, works for the policyholder instead of the insurance company.
In most instances, you can count on a public adjuster to look out for you and try to resolve your claim with your best interests in mind. However, not all public adjusters are created equal. It’s wise to check the license of any public adjuster you are thinking of using. Also, choose a local adjuster, ask for references and actually call on some of those references.
If you are unsatisfied with the public adjuster’s attempts to resolve your claim, call an attorney. You are not bound by the work of the public adjusters. Also, good adjusters know their limits and may refer you to an attorney if they believe your claim is not being fully or fairly resolved. Public adjusters can’t give legal advice, and they can’t litigate your claim if that’s what is necessary to get your claim paid.
What if I was pressured into hiring a public adjuster but wish I’d gone in a different direction?
If you are having second thoughts, you have the right under the law to cancel your contract within the later of three business days from the time the contract was entered into or three business days after the insurance company was notified of the claim.
What should I do to prepare for storm damage?
You already know what to do to protect your home from an approaching hurricane or tropical storm, such as boarding up windows or placing sandbags around your perimeter. There are steps you can take to protect your ability to make a successful claim as well, should damage strike. Take photos or video of your residential or commercial property inside and out. This gives you a record of what you owned and a “before” picture of the structure. Update these pictures any time you conduct any improvements or renovations. Make an inventory of your personal or business assets as well. Store all of these data off-site, or make backups to store in different locations.
Make sure you have adequate insurance to cover your property and belongings and that you understand the steps to filing a claim. Failing to provide timely notice or proof of loss to the insurance company can be disastrous to your claim. Miami property damage insurance lawyer Juan Velasquez can help you report your claim to your insurance company.
What do I do after disaster strikes?
If you evacuated the premises, be very careful about entering a residence or commercial space after it has been damaged by fire, storm or a sinkhole collapse. Besides structural damage, there could be gas leaks or dangerous downed power lines. Document the damage with photos and/or video, just as you previously documented your property pre-disaster. Don’t initiate repairs before contacting the insurance company, although you may want to perform some temporary repairs to avoid further damage (this step may even be required to mitigate damage and loss for your insurance claim). You’ll need to contact your insurance company as soon as possible, but if the damage is extensive, you would be well-advised to contact an experienced insurance lawyer first for advice on how to proceed and do’s and don’ts regarding contacting the insurance company and filing your claim.