What Does an Insurance Claim Feel Like?
This post is an excerpt from an email I received from a client. The city they live in experienced a sewer system failure and flooded their finished basement with sewer and storm water.
State Farm denied coverage
Their own insurance company refused to even open a claim for them. This is, unfortunately, standard procedure for most insurance companies. If they see a way to avoid you filing a claim, they will take it. Ordinarily, I recommend insisting that a claim is filed. That way you have a representative in the process against the city or other party who is to be held liable.
I’ve seen many, many cases where the homeowner’s carrier accepts the claim, pays for repairs, and then subrogates against the City’s insurance carrier. Under subrogation, the homeowner’s insurance company (first party) usually recovers 100% of the claim. It is a very common practice, but you’ve got to be insistent with your own insurance company.
ServiceMaster drops the ball
As is unfortunately often the case, ServiceMaster completely dropped the ball. Drying was incomplete, demolition was overly invasive, and contents were ruined by lack of attention to detail (items were packed up wet and then never dried). I see this most often with “program vendors” who are overworked and ill-equipped to handle large CAT related events. I’ll write another post on the pitfalls of hiring emergency service contractors later. The bottom line is that the large, franchised vendors work for insurance companies, not homeowners.
Then they called Claims Delegates
I’ve been in business for almost five years now. I try very hard to spread the word about the services I provide. Unfortunately, most folks don’t know to even look for help with their insurance claims until they are well into the weeds. The best time to hire a claims expert is BEFORE you file a claim.
More often it’s not until things start to go very wrong that people turn to the internet for help. And then they find Claims Delegates. We got involved and things started moving in the right direction. The following is part of a survey response I received from my client.
Feelings Before Hiring Claims Delegates
BEFORE: I felt like every move might be the wrong move. Made me paralyzed to make decisions, but had to regardless so very anxious. Without any knowledge base I was just hoping for a favorable outcome on the incorrect assumption that the insurance company was going to make things right “for” me since this was not my fault but happened to us. I assumed the service we have always been paying for from the insurance company was to fix the situation.
AFTER: I felt like I had someone in my corner who would shoot straight with me about the available moves that could be made, some of which I did not know were even available if requested. You are neutral and knowledgable, which made me feel empowered instead of ignorant.
What information does Claims Delegates provide that you found most helpful?
- A walk through of what to expect from the insurance claim process.
- An outline of what a “Loss List” looks like and includes.
- Document every thing for reference if needed later. Every conversation, date, and visit with everyone involved with the claim.
- Don’t trust the mitigation company to take care of everything on their own. I would have supervised and had them take more care of my belongings if I knew they would be as reckless as they were. They eased my fears by just saying “add it to the claim”. I did not understand at that time I would never receive full replacement cost but a depreciated value for the items they were telling me to just “add to the claim”.
Which specific items or information were you the most grateful to recieve?
- That I could ask for the air quality test and that you had someone to recommend that would be on the homeowners side and not in the insurance companies pocket.
- Terminology to use and someone to interpret the adjusters terminology that made me feel less susceptible to being railroaded.
Where do you feel the insurance claim process is stacked against the homeowner?
Are you ready to talk to the Insurance Experts?
Also published on Medium.