We know there are a lot of questions you may have. We always want you to ask us as many questions as you like. Below are some of the Frequently Asked Questions that may help you to understand how a Public Adjuster can help you.
How long will it take to settle my claim?
It can take anywhere from 3 months to 2 years to settle your claim. There are many variables that affect this. A loss must be sudden, unexpected, and reported immediately. A loss must be properly documented and explained to the insurance company as soon as possible. If your roof is leaking and you have patched it a few times, but it is still leaking and causing mold and further damages to the interior of your home, this may take longer because we have to find out what caused the leak and have an engineering report done as well as a leak detection company come to the home to provide us with reports to help assist us with the claim process. Your insurance company is going to do the same thing. It is always best to have your own reports to make sure everything is fair and impartial.
Most policies have specific deadlines and rules for certain claims. These “Pitfalls” are written in your policy to let your insurance company use them against you to Delay, Deny, and Underpay your claim. Let us help you avoid the “pitfalls” and get you paid as soon as possible.
What do I do about the debris in my yard after a loss?
Safety is always priority #1. You cannot live in mine field of nails and sharp debris scattered through the yard. You need to clean up. Most insurance companies place the burden of cleanup on the policyholder, although, there might be coverage we can help you with that can get you reimbursed for the cost of the cleanup if you were to pay a company to help you.
You must take lots of photos of the debris. Save all receipts as well if you pay someone to assist you. If the debris makes it too hard and unsafe to walk around your yard to take photos, Full House Public Adjusters will come out with our Drone Technology to take photographs of your yard.
What percentage does a Public Adjuster charge?
On average, a standard 20% is what you would expect to pay a Public Adjuster. There are extreme circumstances, however, such as a Hurricane or a State of Emergency, that would limit our percentage to 10% for one year from the date of loss.
What if I can’t match the damaged Shingles, Tiles, Wood floors, or Paint anymore?
Florida, your insurance company is required to make reasonable repairs to ensure matching what was previously installed. For example, let’s say you have continuous wood flooring in your home. After a plumbing leak in the bathroom, the water found its way into the hallway and damaged some wood flooring. Your insurance company has a duty to match “quality, color and size” of all the wood flooring in your home, upstairs and downstairs if applicable.
Same thing applies to your exterior. Shingles or roof tiles damaged, but not all? There is no way you are going to match anything exterior due to production runs that expired years ago. These issues arise because most insurance companies pay for only the damaged amount and end up fighting with their customers over the fact that their roof now looks like a checkerboard of mismatched patches.
Luckily, Florida has a statutory answer to many of these issues:
“§ 626.9744. Claim settlement practices relating to property insurance
Unless otherwise provided by the policy, when a homeowner’s insurance policy provides for the adjustment and settlement of first-party losses based on repair or replacement cost, the following requirements apply:
(1) When a loss requires repair or replacement of an item or part, any physical damage incurred in making such repair or replacement which is covered and not otherwise excluded by the policy shall be included in the loss to the extent of any applicable limits. The insured may not be required to pay for betterment required by ordinance or code except for the applicable deductible, unless specifically excluded or limited by the policy.
(2) When a loss requires replacement of items and the replaced items do not match in quality, color, or size, the insurer shall make reasonable repairs or replacement of items in adjoining areas. In determining the extent of the repairs or replacement of items in adjoining areas, the insurer may consider the cost of repairing or replacing the undamaged portions of the property, the degree of uniformity that can be achieved without such cost, the remaining useful life of the undamaged portion, and other relevant factors.
(3) This section shall not be construed to make the insurer a warrantor of the repairs made pursuant to this section.
(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize or preclude enforcement of policy provisions relating to settlement disputes.”
For Florida policyholders, if the policy calls for replacement cost and the loss occurred after October 1, 2005, it is important to know that Fla. Stat. § 627.7011 prevents an insurer from attempting to depreciate the undamaged portion of the structure that needs to be replaced due to matching:
“(3) In the event of a loss for which a dwelling or personal property is insured on the basis of replacement costs, the insurer shall pay the replacement cost without reservation or holdback of any depreciation in value, whether or not the insured replaces or repairs the dwelling or property.”
What is Depreciation and why am I losing so much money on my claim because of it?
Depreciation is determined by a formula your insurance company uses to pay you less. For example, most insurance companies will ask you questions such as, “How old is your roof?” or “When did you purchase your couch?” Most people don’t recall the exact date and may respond by saying, “It’s so old I don’t remember…. Maybe 15 or 18 years.” What has now happened is you have allowed the insurance company the ability to round up to the highest possible age of the items in question. Depreciation can be subjective. It is best to let your Public Adjuster negotiate with your insurance company regarding the deprecation amounts of your property. Whenever possible, be sure to have documentation to substantiate your property’s value.
How long will this take?
By law, your insurance company has 90 days, from the date your loss is reported, to make a decision on your claim. Within that time, they have the right to inspect the property more than once if needed, and, may also send an engineering company who specializes in the type of claim you are reporting. Most insurance companies will wait the full 90 days to let us know their decision. Once we know this decision, you will have the opportunity to accept it or, if you are not satisfied, we will keep fighting for you. If you disagree with their initial decision, we still have many options at our disposal such as requesting an Appraisal or filing a lawsuit with an attorney. We work with some of the best attorneys in Florida, who are experts in this area, and will help push the claim to a quick settlement. During our first meeting, we will review your claim and your insurance policy and discuss your best options. It is our goal to provide you with as much information as possible upfront, so that you know what to expect.