Superstorm Hurricane Sandy
Post Superstorm Hurricane Sandy Claims Questions (below)
The first step in any major property insurance claim is to address the temporary emergency aspect of the situation. This can range from finding temporary lodging and boarding pets to getting a rental car and a cell phone. (The second step is to get a copy of the policy and for you flood policy holders, the adjusters manual – FEMA NFIP Adjuster Claims Manual.pdf 13 MB.)
Below is an excerpt from the “First Moves” section of the UClaim.com eBook entitled “HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE CLAIMS ADVICE AND HELP – ALL ASPECTS – HOW TO PLAY THE GAME – DELUXE VERSION (W/APPENDIX)“ (view table of contents and description) by contributor Ron Cercone founder of UClaim.com, a do-it-yourself insurance claim eBook website. Ron is a semi retired licensed public adjuster representing policy holders, not insurers, in California. There is a free 2nd eBook offer now at UClaim.com.
LET THE GAME BEGIN – (YOUR FIRST MOVES)
“Game Plan A” is if you have this guide available from the first day you report your claim.
“Game Plan B” is if your claim has been open for more than a few days up to several years.
Game Plan A (If you have this document from the date of loss)
Loss Day -
The day of the loss, or when you discover the loss, there is not much you can do other than call your insurance agent (the gentleman who sold you the policy) or toll free number for your insurer if your agent is not available. Confirm that you have a home owner’s policy and write down the dollar limits for Structure, Contents and Additional Living Expense. When it comes to all the initial services immediately after a loss, you want the insurance company to select all the “emergency” service contractors of their choice (later you can choose your own contractor for the main structural repair). You want this for two reasons: First, you don’t have the time or emotional inclination to be a rational shopper. Second, if the emergency service vendors make a mistake (and they usually do), the insurer, not you, is responsible because your insurance company recommended them and hired them and probably even paid them direct. If the emergency board up contractor or contents pack out contractor insists you sign their “authorization” paper and it is too cumbersome or lengthy with fine print, just hand write and initial on their paper “I authorize you to protect my property, but my insurance company must authorize the bill for your services.” Put your signature or initials next to that sentence, in addition to the place where their paper is normally signed.
Beware of the few “clever and unscrupulous” insurance company adjusters who will say to you “hire whoever you like and send me the bill”. These type adjusters are usually older “seasoned and trustworthy appearing” adjusters. They know the inherent liability risks of steering their own preferred emergency service contractors to work on your loss. If this clever adjuster resists your request for him to be the one to call out the emergency contractors, fax or email him a polite written request. Remind him that this is an emergency situation and you do not have the time to learn or the expertise to shop for an emergency contractor. If you have no response within 48 hours, fax a request to his supervisor, or if he is an independent adjuster, fax the letter to the adjuster from the insurer who hired him. If still no favorable response in 24 hours, fax a letter to the CEO in the insurer’s home office (You should fax this request, otherwise, if mold later appears, the adjuster will deny you ever requested his expertise). A fax will get more attention than an email and a fax makes better evidence in court.
Tell the agent or customer service that you want the following items in this order:
1. A security guard posted at the house immediately for 24 hours a day until an emergency 8’ fence with barbed wire can be put up. If you can’t reach anyone, or if you get the run around, then …