When disaster strikes, you want to know you’re cared for. Unfortunately, several horror stories exist about policyholders not getting the settlement amount owed for damage incurred on their homes.

An insurance dispute in Florida can be stressful and complicated. You may need someone else, like a public adjuster, to help you negotiate your settlement.

Regardless, it’s essential to cover as many bases as possible before hiring someone to negotiate your claim. To get a fair settlement, follow these steps to set yourself on the right foot.

1. Understanding your policy

Before filing an insurance claim, you need to make sure that you understand the ins and outs of your policy to negotiate a settlement effectively. Your policy will outline what benefits you’re entitled to and what exclusions or limitations may apply.

Understanding your policy will also help you avoid surprises or misunderstandings during the claims process. Suppose you’re unsure about any aspect of your policy. In that case, it’s a good idea to seek the help of an insurance adjuster or a law firm to clarify any questions or concerns you may have and to negotiate a fair personal injury settlement.

You’ll also want to be thoroughly aware of any exclusions or limitations affecting your claim. For example, did you know that homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover damage to your home caused by acts of war? Consider consulting a personal injury attorney if the damage results from a car accident.

Although it’s unlikely that acts of war will affect your Florida home, you might want to be aware of these kinds of exclusions before you attempt negotiations with your insurance company. Understanding these exclusions is crucial for a personal injury lawyer advising clients on property damage claims.

You will also want to calculate the value of your damages to determine the maximum amount you may be entitled to receive. You’ll need to review your insurance policy and consider the following factors to negotiate with an insurance company for fair compensation:

  • The type of coverage you have: Your policy will outline what types of damages are covered and what exclusions or limitations may apply.
  • The amount of your deductible: Your deductible is the amount you’ll need to pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in; calculating this accurately is critical for determining the fair value of your claim. This calculation can impact the settlement with an insurance company, especially in disputes involving lost wages and personal injury.
  • The value of your damages: crucial for negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. You’ll need to calculate the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property, including labor and materials. 
  • The limits of your coverage: Your policy will specify the maximum amount your insurance company is willing to pay for damages.

If you can, get a couple of different estimates on your damage to ensure you get a fair and accurate assessment of the value of your claim. A public adjuster can also help you in this area since they are up to date on the current prices of damage and repairs. This is crucial for ensuring you receive a reasonable settlement that covers all lost wages and damages.

Related: Hurricane Ian Update: Relief and Rebuild

Property Damage Claim Documentation

2. Gathering supporting documentation 

When it comes to gathering supporting documentation, there is no such thing as not enough. Before-and-after photos can save you a lot of time and grief. Some of the additional documentation you should include will be receipts, photos, repair estimates, and any other costs relating to your damage.

For example, if you cannot use your home due to the damage and need to pay for a hotel, the hotel receipts should be included in your documentation.

Here’s an easy checklist you can follow for documentation purposes:

  1. Take photos and videos: Use your smartphone or camera to take clear, detailed photos and videos of the damages from multiple angles. Be sure to capture any visible damage and any underlying issues that may not be immediately apparent. 
  2. Gather receipts and estimates: If you’ve already made any temporary repairs or obtained estimates for permanent repairs, gather these documents to support your claim. 
  3. Keep records of all communication: Record all communication with your insurance company, including phone calls, emails, and in-person meetings. This will help you track the progress of your claim and provide evidence if any disputes or disagreements arise. 
  4. Be thorough and accurate: When documenting damage, it’s essential to be comprehensive and accurate. Make sure you include all relevant details and provide as much information as possible to support your claim

Documentation with your insurance company, especially regarding communication (who you spoke to, when, and what they promised you) can help keep them on track for getting what you’re owed.

Unfortunately, many insurance companies, especially in Florida, are still trying to lowball their policyholders. Due to the influx of claims this hurricane season, they are trying to cut corners where they can. Therefore, documentation is vital to getting what you’re owed.

Related: ​​Independent Adjuster vs Public Adjuster: Who to Hire and Why

3. Filing your claim 

When filing your claim, follow their instructions as thoroughly as possible.

There is a possibility that your claim will be thrown out if you don’t follow their instructions correctly. Your insurance company will likely have specific requirements and deadlines you need to follow.

The last thing you want is to have your claim thrown out because you waited too long to file. When in doubt, file your claim immediately after the damage.

Assuming you’ve thoroughly researched your policy and damages, you should know what you will be entitled to. Try to keep your expectations within a range rather than a specific number to give allowances for discrepancies. Again, a public adjuster can tell you whether your estimated settlement range is fair.

Filing Your Property Damage Claim In Riverview

4. Negotiating with your insurance company 

If you feel that your losses are within a sufficient margin to justify what your insurance company is offering, then it may be time for negotiations.

Most people prefer to do their negotiations themselves, especially if they’ve done their homework beforehand. If you can overwhelm your insurance holder with organized information, up-to-date research, and a thorough assessment of your damages, then progress can be made in negotiations.

Be patient but assertive in your negotiations. It’s essential to keep a calm and professional tone when in the negotiation process. The data you’ve collected should do most of the work for you.

Remember that many emotions are running high right now regarding Florida insurance claims. Every insurance office is flooded with claims from Hurricane Ian.

However, if you find that the process is taking longer than promised, not all the data is being considered, or they are unwilling to meet you halfway in your settlement, it may be time to bring in someone else for negotiations.

5 Steps To Help You Negotiate With Your Insurance Company For A Fair Settlement | Fair Claim Settlement Riverview Fl

5. Handling disputes and appeals 

If you believe you’ve been given an unfair settlement offer, you can try to negotiate directly to reach a fair settlement. However, you will likely need to take more drastic action.

If you cannot reach an agreement with your insurance company through direct negotiation, you may be able to seek the help of a mediator or arbitrator to resolve the dispute. These options can be less formal and less expensive than going to court, and they may be able to help you resolve more quickly.

You may need to appeal the decision if your dispute can’t be resolved through negotiation or mediation. If you decide to appeal a denied claim, it’s important to understand the appeals process and follow the proper procedures. This may involve submitting additional documentation or presenting your case to a panel of arbitrators or judges.

When this doesn’t work, you’ll want to immediately hire a reliable public adjuster. These professionals are skilled at negotiating with insurance companies and know the language that will help you get what you’re owed to cover your damages.

The best thing you can do is understand the insurance claims process as thoroughly as possible. Don’t just take the first offer; ask them to explain how it’s a fair settlement for your incurred damages. 

If you need professional advice about your claim, contact us at dependableresolutions@gmail.com.